PM Trovoada says at least six people detained after overnight attack, including the National Assembly’s former president.
According to Sao Tome/Principe’s prime minister, a coup attempt was stopped. The country is widely praised as being stable.
At a briefing broadcast on Radio Somos Todos Primos, Prime Minister Patrice Trvoada stated that military barracks were under attack on Friday morning.
“We were targeted by an attempted coup, which began around 00:40 [00:40 GMT] and was completed … shortly after 06:00 [06:00 GMT],” he said.
At least six persons have been reportedly detained.
The Economic Community of West African States’ head condemned the attempted coup in the Gulf of Guinea country.
“Sao Tome and Principe is a country considered a model of parliamentary democracy in Africa,” Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo said on Twitter.
Je condamne avec la plus grande peine et fermeté la tentative de coup d’État qui a eu lieu dans la nuit de jeudi 24 à vendredi 25 novembre à Sao Tomé-et-Principe. #SAOTOME-ET-PRINCIPE est un des pays considéré comme un modèle de démocratie parlementaire en Afrique, pic.twitter.com/DXkzNUZZIn
— Umaro Sissoco Embaló (@USEmbalo) November 25, 2022
Trovoada said four attackers were “neutralised” and detained after the coup attempt. The prime minister stated that Delfim Neves was the former President of the National Assembly and Arlecio Costa was also taken into custody in connection to the coup.
Neves lost his position on November 11 when a new chamber was installed following elections in September, in which Trovoada’s centre-right Independent Democratic Action (ADI) party won an absolute majority.
Since 1975, the ADI has been one of the two main parties in the race to lead the country. Another is the Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe Social Democratic Party (MLSTP–PSD). The ADI’s electoral triumph saw Trovoada return to the post of prime minister for a third time.
A resident speaking to the AFP news agency anonymously by phone said she had heard “automatic and heavy weapons fire as well as explosions for two hours inside army headquarters” in the nation’s capital, Sao Tome.
She said the city was now calm: “People are going about their normal business, but schools have asked parents not to send their children.”
Sao Tome and Principe was once a Portuguese colony. It is located on the west equatorial coast Africa. Since 2003, when President Fradique De Menezes attempted a military coup against it’s government, the country has remained relatively stable. The coup leaders claimed that they attempted to overthrow the government because of widespread poverty.