AU condemns the coup attempt in Island Nation of Sao Tome and Principe
ADDIS ABABA - The African Union [AU] led by the chairman and President of Senegal Macky Sall, has strongly condemned the coup attempt in Sao Tome and Principe.
I strongly condemn the coup attempt in Sao Tome and Principe. The African Union categorically rejects any seizure of power by force,” President Macky Sall, the president of Senegal, who is the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) said on Twitter.
The coup attempt that occurred on Friday led the former president of the outgoing National Assembly Delfim Neves, to try to attack army headquarters overnight.
Sao Tome and Principe Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada said in a video message confirmed by the justice minister on Friday.
He said Neves was one of several people arrested. The military has foiled a coup attempt in Sao Tome and Principe.
"There was an attempted coup d'etat which began around 00:40 am and... ended shortly after 6 am," he said, adding that "armed forces were attacked in a barracks.
The situation in the barracks is under control, but we must be sure that the country is completely under control," Trovoada said.
He said a soldier had been "taken hostage" and wounded but "would be able to resume his activities in a few days" according to TRTWORLD.com.
AFP revealed that the military personnel was deployed overnight to secure the homes of members of the government and the president.
The four attackers have been arrested and have denounced certain others, including Delfim Neves and Arlecio Costa.
Costa is a former Santomean mercenary connected with South Africa's Buffalo Battalion security group, which was dismantled by Pretoria in 1993. He was also arrested and accused of leading a coup bid in Sao Tome in 2009.
The prime minister announced an inquiry was underway and said the army was "obliged to clarify the situation if there are other ramifications within the armed forces".
Neves lost his position on November 11 when a new chamber was installed following elections in September, in which Trovoada’s center-right Independent Democratic Action (ADI) party won an absolute majority.
The ADI is one of two major parties that have vied to run the country since its independence in 1975.
The other is the Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe-Social Democratic Party (MLSTP-PSD). The ADI’s electoral triumph saw Trovoada return to the post of prime minister for the third time.
A resident speaking to the AFP news agency anonymously by phone said she had heard “automatic and heavy weapons fire as well as explosions for two hours inside army headquarters” in the nation’s capital, Sao Tome.
Sao Tome and Principe is a former Portuguese colony, located off the western equatorial coast of Africa. It has been relatively stable since an attempted military coup against the government of President Fradique de Menezes in 2003.
Coup leaders at the time said they tried to topple the government due to widespread poverty.