BISSAU, March 5, 2009 (AFP) - Guinea-Bissau's army chief discovered a 200-kilogramme cocaine stash a week before his assassination, which preceded the murder of the country's president, an army officer said Thursday.
Following General Batista Tagme Na Waie's killing, soldiers murdered President Joao Bernardo Vieira earlier this week in an apparent reprisal in the West African nation.
|The ruined remains of the military headquarters where a bomb attack killed General Tagme Na Waie on March 1, shortly before President Vieira was then killed by a group of soldiers close to the General, is seen on March 4, 2009 (Photo: AFP)|
"The general found, one week before his death, a hideaway in an army hangar with 200 kilogrammes of cocaine packed into four travel bags. He made a lot of effort to find out who had hidden the drug," the officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The chief of staff of Guinea-Bissau's army was killed in a bomb attack Sunday at the military headquarters, three months after an assault on the presidential residence.
Guinea-Bissau soldiers gunned down the president as he fled his home Monday following the army chief's death.
The country has become a notorious hub for South American cocaine being trafficked to Europe.
According to the officer, the general had told his staff to "do everything so that this affair is solved ... we will never accept people hiding behind us to sully the military institution."
He called for those responsible to be arrested, the source said.
The general had recently made enemies among drug traffickers, having carried out a seizure in May 2008 of a tanker truck carrying 10,000 litres of fuel, the source said.
According to the source, the fuel was meant to supply drug trafficking planes in the town of Cufar.
A month later, he discovered 60 barrels of fuel in a hangar on Bubaque, part of the Bijagos Islands off the country's coast, the officer said.
The officer called bomb attacks such as the one that killed the general "unseen in Guinea-Bissau," adding that "there is definitely an invisible hand" involved.
The bomb was placed under his office stairs and remotely activated just after the general arrived. Part of the building collapsed due to the blast.