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Guinea-Bissau Prime Minister Says He Will Stay In Office Despite Military Arrests

Guinea Bissau's Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior (file photo)

The prime minister of Guinea-Bissau says he will not give up his post, despite being detained and threatened by the military Thursday.

A day after soldiers in Guinea-Bissau briefly detained the prime minister, shops in the capital opened as usual and markets were full.

Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior held emergency talks with President Malam Bacai Sanha to discuss the future of Army Chief Zamora Induta, who was also detained Thursday and remains under arrest by soldiers loyal to his deputy, Antonio Indjai.

Following those talks, Prime Minister Gomes spoke to reporters in Bissau.

The prime minister says he will remain in office despite Thursday's events. President Sanha's cabinet expressed their support for the prime minister and condemned the use of force as a means to resolve the country's problems.

Thursday's arrests came shortly after soldiers loyal to Deputy Army Chief Indjai entered the local United Nations headquarters and left with Bubo Na Tchuto, a former navy chief who sought refuge there after returning from exile in The Gambia last year.

He is accused of leading a 2008 coup attempt. Army Chief Induta had called for his prosecution.

Na Tchuto now appears to be a free man, appearing alongside Indjai before reporters.

Na Tchuto says he was not involved in the 2008 coup attempt and that he would never let down his troops. He says he is angry that people are now supporting Prime Minister Gomes when no one supported him when he was forced to flee the country.

It is the latest political turmoil in a country with a history of often-violent instability. Mutinous soldiers assassinated President Joao Bernardo Vieira last March, hours after the death of his chief political rival.

The Economic Community of West African States says it is seriously concerned about efforts by some sections of the military to destabilize Guinea-Bissau. In a written statement, the regional alliance warned those responsible of what it called "a robust response and dire consequences from the entire international community.