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Funeral held for slain Guinea-Bissau president

Funeral held for slain Guinea-Bissau president

Thousands of people attended a funeral ceremony Tuesday to mourn Guinea-Bissau's assassinated president.
President Joao Bernardo "Nino" Vieira was slain by unknown attackers who stormed his home in Bissau on March 2.
Vieira was laid to rest Tuesday in an official ceremony attended by family members and diplomats. Apart from the prime minister of Guinea, which has been ruled by a military junta since a December coup, no heads of state were present at the funeral.
Virtually nothing has been done to find those responsible. Vieira's house was not cordoned off, and days after the killing, bullets, a machine-gun ammunition clip and a machete lay unattended on the blood splattered floor of the tiny dining room where he spent his last moments.
His death came hours after his armed forces chief of staff, Gen. Batista Tagme na Waie, was killed in a bomb blast inside the military headquarters. The two men were longtime rivals.
Vieira, aged about 70, ruled the nation of 1.5 million people for more than two decades. Born in Bissau when the nation was a Portuguese colony, he played a key role in the violent liberation war that secured independence in 1974.
Vieira became prime minister in 1978, then seized power himself in a bloodless coup in 1980. He ruled until he was overthrown in 1999 at the end of a two-year civil war. In 2005, Vieira made a comeback, returning from exile to win presidential elections.
Raimundo Pereira, the parliament chief who is now interim president, called on the international community to help stabilize the country.
According to the constitution, Pereira is supposed to hold power until a ballot is held within two months, but lawmakers say the nation is not ready to hold a vote so quickly.
Pereira called on "the friends of Guinea-Bissau to help us organize elections within the time set out in the constitution,"


Updated : 2021-05-10 15:56 GMT+08:00