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Guinea Bissau Opposition Leader Dies in Lisbon

February 6, 1994

LISBON, Portugal (AP) _ Aristide Menezes, leader of the first opposition party to be legalized in the African nation of Guinea Bissau, died Sunday in Lisbon, a hospital official said.

Menezes, who was influential in organizing the first public protests against the military government of President Joao Bernardo Vieira, died after a prolonged illness. He was 46.

Menezes founded the Democratic Front political party in 1991, the first opposition party to be recognized by the Vieira regime.

Guinea Bissau, which lies between Senegal and Guinea on the West African coast, is scheduled to hold its first general elections on March 27. The country gained independence from Portugal in 1975.

Vieira took control from the post-independence government in 1980 after a military coup.

No details of his illness were released and there no immediate word on survivors or funeral arrangements.

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