Presidential candidate shot dead in Guinea-Bissau

BISSAU, Guinea-Bissau – Armed men wearing military uniforms burst into the home of a candidate in Guinea-Bissau's upcoming presidential election and shot him to death, officials and family said Friday.

Baciro Dabo was sleeping next to his wife at around 4 a.m. Friday when the men broke into his residence and opened fire, killing him instantly, said his chief of staff, Lamine Diata.

Campaigning for the June 28 election was due to begin Saturday, and Dabo had resigned his post as territorial administration minister in mid-May and quit the ruling party to run as an independent in the vote. He was one of 13 candidates, but was not considered to have any chance of victory.

The special vote was organized after the West African country's president, Joao Bernardo "Nino" Vieira, was assassinated March 2, just hours after his longtime rival, the head of the armed forces, was killed by a bomb.

Dabo was considered close to Vieira and previously served as his interior minister.

It was unclear what sparked the killing, but a statement issued by Guinea-Bissau's intelligence service said the assassination might have been linked to a failed coup plot it said was being organized by former Defense Minister Helder Proenca.

Rumors were circulating in Bissau that Proenca had also been killed, but officials could not confirm the reports.

Bissau was calm and there were no other reports of violence in the city on Friday.

Ruling-party candidate Malam Bacai Sanha is believed to have the strongest chance of winning the vote.

A former Portuguese colony, Guinea-Bissau has a long history of instability with numerous coups and attempted coups, most of which were led by the army.

People look at the moon at the Temple of Hercules at the Citadel in Amman. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed