DAKAR, Senegal — Fighting between rebel soldiers and government troops in Guinea-Bissau intensified Sunday, with the empty U.S. Embassy reportedly hit and the insurgents denying government claims that they had been crushed.
The Senegalese army, fighting in support of Guinea-Bissau's president, insisted that it had wrested control of a key military compound in the capital, Bissau, from rebellious troops.
The Bra barracks had been a stronghold of renegade soldiers led by former armed forces chief of staff Ansumane Mane, who launched an attempted coup against the government of President Joao Bernardo Vieira a week ago.
"Everything inside the camp, including the ammunitions dump, is under our control," Senegalese army spokesman Col. Meissa Tamba told Reuters news agency Sunday, a day after his army said it had seized the complex. The barracks is near the airport, which was apparently still under rebel control.
Tamba said there had been "some residual resistance" at the barracks and acknowledged that artillery fire from the rebels was landing within the compound.
The Portuguese news agency Lusa quoted rebel spokesman Maj. Gomes Fernandes on Sunday as calling the Senegalese claim "pure propaganda."
More than 3,000 people have been evacuated from Bissau since the revolt began June 7, and diplomats say between 2,000 and 2,500 foreigners remain in the country.
All Americans who wanted to leave have done so safely, including Ambassador Peggy Blackford and her four remaining staff members, who left Sunday before the shelling, said State Department spokesman James P. Rubin.
Senegal closed its border with Guinea-Bissau as soon as the revolt broke out but let in refugees on humanitarian grounds last week. An official in the north of Guinea, Guinea-Bissau's southern neighbor, said Sunday that about 1,400 people had sought refuge there since Friday.