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GUINEA BISSAU - Guinea Bissau soldiers gunned down veteran president Joao Bernardo Vieira as he fled his home early yesterday following turmoil in which the army chief was blown up and killed, military spokesperson Zamora Induta said.
The West African nation's army blamed Vieira, 69, for the death of their leader, General Tagme Na Waie, in a bomb attack on Sunday.
Vieira, one of the leaders of Guinea-Bissau's fight against Portuguese rule, led the impoverished country from 1980 to 1999 and then became president again in 2005 until his death.
Relations with the army had been tense for months.
"President Vieira was killed by the army as he tried to flee his house which was being attacked by a group of soldiers close to the head of the chief of staff, Tagme Na Waie," Induta said.
"Vieira was taken down by bullets fired by these soldiers."
Induta added that the president was "one of the main people responsible for the death of Tagme", who was killed in a bomb attack on the military headquarters in Bissau on Sunday night.
The assassination comes after weeks of mounting rivalry between the president and the military leadership. - Sapa-AFP