Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva condemned what he said was “armed activity” in Bissau. “There is armed activity in Bissau directed at the legitimate authorities of Guinea-Bissau, its president and government,” Santos Silva told Portugal’s Lusa news agency.

Prolonged, heavy gunfire around the Government Palace in Guinea-Bissau’s capital has signaled a coup attempt in this West African country with a long history of military takeovers, AP reports.

The state broadcaster has reported that the shooting has damaged the government building and that “invaders” are holding officials. resident Umaro Cissoko Embalo, a former army general, was believed to be inside the building at the time of the attack.

The 15-nation West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS, already grappling with three other coups in member states over the last 18 months, called Tuesday’s violence a coup attempt and said it is following the situation in Bissau “with great concern.”

“ECOWAS condemns this coup attempt and holds the military responsible for the bodily integrity of President Umaro Sissoco Embalo and the members of his government,” the statement said in a tweet.

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