CARTAGENA, Colombia - The White House on Friday strongly condemned the military coup in Guinea-Bissau and called for the restoration of the country's legitimate government.
Deposed prime minister Carlos Gomes Junior, the favorite in a second-round presidential election set for this month, was seized in a military assault on his home using rocket-propelled grenades on Thursday.
The military also captured interim president Raimundo Pereira.
"The United States strongly condemns the actions taken by certain elements of Guinea-Bissau's military to seize power from the country's civilian leadership," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
"We call for the immediate restoration of the legitimate government," Carney said in a statement issued in Colombia shortly after President Barack Obama's arrival for a regional summit.
Carney said Washington was "deeply concerned" about the safety of Pereira and other key figures.
"We call for the release of all government leaders and urge all parties to reconcile their differences through the democratic process."
Carney also welcomed a "strong statement" by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) condemning the seizure of power by elements of the military and a swift UN Security Council reaction.