Gunfire erupted in Bissau, the capital of Guinea-Bissau, on Thursday night and early Friday morning as national guard soldiers clashed with members of the presidential guard special forces.
However, the army says it has detained the leader of the security forces unit involved, Colonel Victor Tchongo, and claims the situation is under control.
The clashes began after national guard soldiers freed two members of the government, Economy and Finance Minister Souleiman Seidi and Secretary of State for the Treasury Antonio Monteiro, who had been questioned by police on Thursday.
The two government officials were allegedly questioned by police about a withdrawal of $10 million from state coffers. Lawmakers had also questioned Seidi about the withdrawal during a National Assembly session on Monday.
Members of the national guard took Seidi and Monteiro to an unknown location on Thursday night before seeking refuge in the barracks in the southern Santa Luzia district.
Access to the southern neighbourhoods of the city was blocked off by security forces and residents reported fleeing north.
Following unsuccessful attempts at mediation, special forces intervened and exchanged gunfire with the national guard. The situation was eventually brought under control.
President Umaro Sissoco Embalo is currently attending the United Nations Climate Conference in Dubai and hasn’t commented on the crisis.
Guinea-Bissau has a history of political instability since independence from Portugal in 1974, having experienced four coups and several attempted coups.
Embalo appointed two generals in September to head presidential security and the army.
The incident comes amidst an increase in coups and attempted coups in West Africa, including in Gabon, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.