Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had a phone call with Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo on Wednesday, during which he condemned a coup attempt in the West African country besides expressing solidarity with the people, diplomatic sources said.

Heavy gunfire was heard near the presidential palace in the capital Bissau on Tuesday, leading to reports of a coup attempt in the country which has a history of military takeovers.

Soldiers in military vehicles drove through the streets, and some were also deployed around government buildings, according to local media reports.

The sources added that the Turkish diplomat also spoke to his Bissau-Guinean counterpart Suzi Carla Barbosa.

Embalo had described the coup attempt as an attack against democracy, attributing it to “the work of isolated elements.”

In a tweet, the president said he was “fine,” and that the “situation is under government control.” He thanked the people of Guinea-Bissau and the rest of the world for their concern.

Three countries in West Africa – Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso – have witnessed military coups over the last 18 months.

Recent violence in Guinea-Bissau came days after Embalo reshuffled his Cabinet, a decision initially challenged by Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam’s party.

Relations between the president and the Nabiam-led government are said to be tense in recent months.

Guinea-Bissau has had nine coups and attempted coups since its independence from Portugal in 1974.

For more than four decades, no elected head of state had finished a five-year term until Jose Mario Vaz completed his tenure in June 2019.

In 2009, then-President Joao Bernardo Vieira was assassinated in what was said to be an apparent revenge attack by soldiers for the killing of the country’s then-army chief, who was at odds with Vieira.

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