ABUJA, Nigeria, April 13 (UPI) -- African leaders condemned Friday what they viewed as a brazen claim to power in an alleged military coup in Guinea-Bissau.
Around 500,000 eligible voters reportedly turned out to cast ballots in a March presidential contest in Guinea-Bissau featuring nine candidates. Among the candidates was front-runner Carlos Gomes, the country's wealthiest man and prime minister; former President Kumba Yala; and former transitional President Henrique Rosa.
Soldiers in the country blocked of the residence of Gomes roughly two weeks before a runoff election. He secured 49 percent of the vote last month, which wasn't enough for a clear victory.
The Economic Community of West African States said, in a statement to Bloomberg News, that the "flagrant defiance of the community's principle of zero tolerance for power obtained by" military means "cannot go unpunished."
None of the country's elected leaders has finished a term, succumbing to ailments, assassinations or military coups.
In late December, the top navy commander in the country, Rear Adm. Bubo Na Tchuto, was detained following what some authorities said was a coup attempt. The U.N. mission there said military officers attacked an army headquarters to steal weapons.
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