Soldiers arrested President Kumba Yala this week after he reneged for the fourth time on his pledge to hold elections in Guinea-Bissau. Under Yala’s three-year rule, the tiny, desperately poor former Portuguese colony has plunged into famine and fiscal chaos, and the president has been accused of discriminating against Muslims, who make up nearly half the population. The military said that Gen. Verissimo Correia Seabra, the army chief of staff, would be in charge until “a credible civilian figure” could be appointed to run a caretaker government and hold elections. Opposition leaders applauded the coup, saying the military had “saved the country” from dictatorship.
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