four killed in coup attempt

Four people died in Sao Tome and Principe during a failed coup attempt overnight from Thursday to Friday, the government news agency announced on Sunday, citing a report by the head of state- major of the armed forces.

The army, which announced on Friday that it had foiled a coup attempt in this small Portuguese-speaking archipelago, considered a model of parliamentary democracy in Africa, announced that « four human lives were lost », three of them due to their « wounds » and after « exchanges of fire » in a military site, according to the chief of staff of the armed forces quoted by the government news agency STP-Press.

The shadow of the « Buffalo Battalion »

One of the victims is Arlecio Costa, a former Santomean mercenary from the sulphurous South African group « Bataillon Buffalo », dismantled in 1993 by Pretoria. He is accused by the Prime Minister, Patrice Trovoada, of being one of the sponsors.

“Four citizens” and “12 soldiers from the army and the Buffalo battalion”, tried to occupy installations of a military site and were “all neutralized and captured”, before three of them died of following their « wounds », assured the same source to the Santomean agency, affirming that the army tried « to the maximum » to « preserve » their lives by taking them to the hospital.

Arlecio Costa, whose arrest had been announced by the authorities, died after having « jumped from a vehicle », assures the army, without giving more details. A judicial source contacted by AFP could not confirm where Mr. Costa was at the time of his arrest. In February 2009, while leader of a small opposition party, he was arrested and accused of being the leader of a thwarted coup attempt 12 days earlier.

Four men, including the former number 1 of Parliament, Delfim Nevès, were arrested on Friday after being denounced by a commando of four men captured after six hours of exchanges of fire at army headquarters, which they had attacked during the night, according to the head of government Patrice Trovoada.


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