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Guinea-Bissau Speaker Takes Oath as New President


The head of Guinea-Bissau's parliament has been sworn in as president, a day after the assassination of President Joao Bernardo Vieira.

National Assembly speaker Raimundo Perreira took the oath of office Tuesday during a special session of parliament.

Under the terms of Guinea-Bissau's constitution, Mr. Perreira will serve as interim head of state while new elections are organized, to be held within 60 days.

President Vieira was killed by a band of mutinous soldiers at the presidential palace on Monday.

The soldiers are believed to have been seeking revenge for the death of military chief Tagme Na Waie, killed in a separate bomb blast late Sunday.

The military has said it was not attempting a coup, and that the soldiers acted independently.

Waie and Mr. Vieira were longtime political rivals.

Witnesses in the capital, Bissau, say the city was calm and operating normally on Tuesday.

A delegation of West African foreign ministers, from the regional grouping ECOWAS, is in the country for talks with military and legislative leaders.

Mr. Vieira ruled Guinea-Bissau for two separate periods covering 23 years after first seizing power in a 1980 coup.

Guinea-Bissau is one of the world's poorest countries and has a long history of coups and unrest since winning independence from Portugal in 1974.

Located on Africa's northwestern coast, it has become a conduit for smuggling Latin American cocaine into Europe.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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