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Presidential Election Campaigning Resumes in Guinea Bissau


Presidential campaigning has resumed in Guinea Bissau, following last week's killing of independent candidate Baciro Dabo. The country's interim leader says the vote will go ahead as planned June 28.

Presidential candidates are again holding electoral rallies in Guinea Bissau, after campaigning was suspended following candidate Baciro Dabo's death.

State security forces say they killed the former interior minister and former defense minister Helder Proenca during an operation to stop an attempted coup.

Military police say they have proof coup plotters planned to kill the head of the armed forces, overthrow interim government leader Raimundo Pereira and dissolve the national assembly. A police statement says some of the suspected coup plotters were detained without incident, but Dabo and Proenca were killed when they resisted arrest.

Dabo's family says he was shot in his bed around four in the morning.

After meeting with government officials and the heads of the main political parties, Acting President Pereira lifted the campaign suspension and decided to press ahead with voting June 28th to choose a successor to long-time leader Joao Bernardo Vieira.

President Vieira was killed in his home in March, hours after a bomb blast killed his chief political rival, Army Chief of Staff General Batista Tagme Na Waie.

It is the latest political violence in a country that has seen a series of army mutinies and coups since independence in 1974. That instability has been made worse by Latin American drug gangs using remote airstrips along the coast to smuggle cocaine to Europe.

The African Union's Peace and Security Council wants an independent investigation into last week's killings and the deaths of President Vieira and General Waie.

In a written statement, the council urged Guinea Bissau security forces and the army to "refrain from interference in political issues and to take necessary measure to guarantee the security of the candidates and the electoral process."

Dabo was a member of the ruling party running as independent with the backing of Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Jr.

Several candidates are running to succeed President Vieira. But the vote is expected to be primarily a race between the ruling party candidate, former interim president Malam Bacai Sanha, and the main opposition Social Renewal Party candidate, former president Kumba Yala.


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