Bump in the Road

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Portugal sent a team of investigators to Sao Tome and Principe this week to help probe an alleged coup attempt in the small African nation, Euronews reported.

Last week, the military detained four men attempting to storm the army’s headquarters following a six-hour firefight, said Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada, according to Africanews.

He announced that “four citizens” and 12 soldiers were involved in the coup attempt.

The army’s chief of staff later added that all the detained men died, three of them from their “wounds”, but did not give further details.

The fourth man, a former mercenary who had already been the leader of an attempted coup in 2009, also died after “jumping from a vehicle,” but the official did not elaborate.

Meanwhile, Trovoada announced that a number of alleged perpetrators have also been detained, including opposition politician Delfim Neves.

The government condemned the alleged coup as a “violent attempt to subvert the constitutional order,” and assured that “all investigations will be carried out to determine the causes and circumstances of the deaths.”

The European Union and African regional blocs also denounced the attempted takeover.

The failed coup comes some two months after Trovoada’s Independent Democratic Action (ADI) party won the tiny island nation’s parliamentary elections.

Since its independence from Portugal in 1975, Sao Tome and Principe has experienced a number of coup attempts, including in 2003 and 2009. Even so, the country has been considered a model of parliamentary democracy in Africa.

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