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Former military strongman shot dead, reports say

Guinea-Bissau’s authorities have announced that former military strongman General Ansumane Mane was killed in a shootout with loyalist forces, a humanitarian source told IRIN on Friday.

The announcement was made on Thursday evening on state radio and television. Two other people were said to have been killed in the clash, which reportedly occurred on Thursday in the region of Biombo, west of the capital, Bissau.

State television showed images of three bodies. International media said they were not recognisable and a source in Bissau confirmed this to IRIN.

Mane had reportedly been on the run since 23 November when loyalist forces overcame his followers in Bissau. Three days before, he had seized control of the armed forces after revoking military promotions made by President Kumba Yala.

Mane had headed a military junta that co-governed Guinea-Bissau after an 11-month mutiny that ousted Yala’s predecessor, Joao Bernardo Vieira, in May 1999. His relations with Yala, elected in February 2000, had been tense. On various occasions, he had opposed decisions made by the president.

There had been much uncertainty over Mane’s fate in the past week. On 23 November, military sources said he had been detained, Portuguese radio reported. The authorities later said he had fled to Quinhamel, in the Biombo region, but there were rumours that he had been killed.

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