Bissau shuts air and sea space, uncertainty grows
17 April 2012
Reuters - 16 April 2012
* Some citizens head for interior, fear conflict after coup
* Military restrict air, sea traffic, cite national security
* Portugal sends force to rescue its nationals if necessary
* ECOWAS delegation due to tell military it opposes coup
By Alberto Dabo
BISSAU, April 16 (Reuters) - Frightened residents fled the capital of Guinea-Bissau on Monday and some stockpiled supplies after military chiefs shut the country's air and sea space following their coup four days ago.
As uncertainty in the small impoverished West African state grew, former colonial power Portugal denounced what it called an "absolutely illegitimate military coup" and said it had dispatched a military force in case it became necessary to evacuate its citizens.
The prospect of Portuguese planes and warships appearing off the coast prompted Guinea-Bissau's military chiefs to shut the country's air and sea space to all unauthorised traffic. "Non-observance of this measure will imply a military response," a communique announcing the move said.