Developing Story: Coup Attempt in Guinea-Bissau

A military-backed coup is underway in Guinea-Bissau, the second West African country to undergo such pressure this month. “”We have received some difficult information from Guinea-Bissau, and this information indicates to us that there is a coup underway,” Daniel Kablan Duncan told reporters after a meeting of the 15-nation regional group in Abidjan. “ECOWAS formally and rigorously condemns such an attempted coup d’etat,” he added.” Further reports tell of fighting in the capital city, “Soldiers in Guinea-Bissau’s capital had fired automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades as they took over the central part of the city, witnesses and a diplomat said. There were reports of heavy arms fire and explosions from the area late on Thursday night, with the home of Carlos Gomes Junior, the prime minister and presidential poll frontrunner, coming under attack.” We will keep an eye on this story as it develops and include updates in the EST edition. (Al Jazeera http://aje.me/IKL65l)

UN to South Sudan: Remove your Troops; South Sudan to UN: No

The UN asked South Sudan to withdraw its troops from the oil-rich Heglig region.”[The UN Secretary General] gave me an order,” said South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir. “He said I order you to immediately withdraw from Heglig. I said I’m not under your command.” He proceeded to set out a series of conditions for the pull out that include Sudan leaving the Abeyi region. “”South Sudan would withdraw from Heglig if a guarantee can be provided that it will not be used for another attack against our territory,” Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said. “Firstly, all ground and air assaults by Sudan must end immediately,” Benjamin said, three days after Southern troops wrested control of Heglig, amidst heavy clashes between the rival armies. “The Sudan Armed Forces still occupying Abyei must also withdraw entirely,” he added, referring to a contested area seized by Khartoum’s forces last year.” (Al Jazeera http://aje.me/IZKTdX)

Karzai: Possibly Move Up Presidential Election to 2013

It’s not often that a sitting president will muse about moving up elections by a year. Enter Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai who said, “I have been talking about this for some time now, and this is quite a good consideration, [whether] we cannot have all of that accomplished in 2014 because of the heavy agenda…Should we allow the transition process to complete itself in 2014, but bring the presidential election one year earlier to 2013?” Though there are concerns he may not step down even when his term ends. “He has repeatedly said he will not seek another term in office, but both Afghan rivals and western diplomats in Kabul have voiced concerns he may use worries about security and stability to extend his rule. According to an influential member of the Kabul establishment, Karzai believes that if elections cannot take place in 2014, “he will hang in there for a couple more years.”” (Guardian http://bit.ly/IFTcRi)

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