Vieira was hacked with machetes – author

LONDON – British author Frederick Forsyth has told the BBC how he was caught in the turmoil this week in the tiny West African state of Guinea-Bissau, rocked by the assassinations of its president and army chief.

The best-selling author of books, including The Day Of The Jackal, recounted how President Joao Bernardo Vieira died a long and bloody death – and said he might even use the experience in his next book.

"I can assure you I had nothing to do with the coup d’etat," said the writer, who has previously admitted to helping fund a 1973 coup attempt in nearby Equatorial Guinea, and whose 1974 book The Dogs Of War recounted a failed plot to topple the government of a fictional African country.

Vieira was assassinated on Monday in apparent retaliation for a bomb blast on Sunday night which killed the head of the armed forces, General Tagme Na Waie.

Forsyth, in the country to research his latest thriller, told of how he was woken in his hotel bedroom by an explosion early on Monday as soldiers launched an apparent revenge mission on the veteran president.

"They went to his villa, threw a bomb through the window which hurt him, but didn’t kill him," Forsyth said.

"The roof came down. He struggled out of the rubble and was shot. They then took him to his mother-in-law’s house and chopped him with machetes," he added.

The author said he was temporarily stranded in the capital, Bissau. – Sapa-AFP