Six killed in Guinea-Bissau gunbattle - sources

image source, AFP
image captionThe attack took place just outside the capital Bissau

At least six people have been killed in a firefight after gunmen attacked an army barracks in Guinea-Bissau, military sources say.

They say the army repelled the pre-dawn attack just outside the capital Bissau, killing six "rebels".

The raid is likely to further heighten tensions in the West African nation, where the military seized power in a coup in April.

Instability has turned the country into a prime drug smuggling spot.

Gangs use the country to smuggle cocaine from Latin America to Europe, allegedly in collusion with top army officers.

The UN Security Council has recently demanded that Guinea-Bissau's rulers restore constitutional rule.

Communications Minister Fernando Vaz accused Portugal of being behind the attack - an accusation which the former colonial power declined to address, reports the AFP news agency.

"Portugal calls for calm and an end to the violence," the Portuguese foreign ministry said in a statement.

It also called for "a new phase in the history of Guinea-Bissau, which will be marked by peace, the consolidation of democratic institutions, by the submission of the military to civilian powers and by an effective fight against drug trafficking," AFP reports.

Guinea-Bissau has a long history of coups since independence from Portugal in 1974, and no elected leader has finished their time in office since.

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