"The secretary-general is deeply saddened and dismayed by the assassinations of President Joao Bernardo Vieira and his chief of general staff, Gen. Batista Tagme Na Waie," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement released by his office. "He remains in close contact with his representative for Guinea-Bissau, Joseph Mutaboba, who along with others in the international community is working to promote peace, political stability and development in the country."
Diplomats said Vieira was slain by army troops Monday following a bombing that killed the army chief of staff. The former Portuguese colony has been wracked by instability in recent months.
In its statement, the State Department said the United States "condemns the violence" that resulted in men's deaths and called upon "all parties in Guinea-Bissau to respect the rule of law and follow the established constitutional order regarding succession."
The West African country struggled to combat drug trafficking and organized crime, as well as sustain economic growth and political stability amid civil conflicts, coups and uprisings in recent decades, the United Nations said.