Joao Bernardo Vieira, President of the small West African nation of Guinea-Bissau, has been shot and killed by a group of “renegade soldiers,” the BBC reports.

The army chief of staff had died under suspicious circumstances just a few hours earlier — the President’s killing is believed to be an act of revenge by military loyalists. However, the army denies that a coup is under way.

Guinea-Bissau has been rocked by a series of coups since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974 — including one led by President Vieira in 1980. The country is one of the poorest in the world, and is dominated by the traffic of cocaine en route to Europe.

The African Union will hold an emergency meeting today to review the situation.

Are you on the ground in Bissau? Know anyone who is, or who is very familiar with Guinea-Bissau politics?

Let us know! We’d love to hear from anyone closer to the source.

Photo by hdptcar (Creative Commons)