Turmoil Engulfs Guinea-Bissau

The small country of Guinea-Bissau has plunged into crisis as military coup took control of radio and television stations.

The military violence took place just weeks before a runoff presidential election scheduled at the end of April.

Reports say the country is known for its coups, political assassinations and thriving drug trade.

Accounts were recorded stated that streets are said to be filled with soldiers with heavy weapons and the country’s democratic values are under strain.

Maria Helena Nosoline Embalo (centre), Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Integration of GuineaBissau, is greeted by Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti (second from left, back to camera), Permanent Representative of Brazil to the UN and Chair of the Guinea-Bissau configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, before a meeting of the Security Council on the situation in that country. At left is Joseph Mutaboba, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS).

UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

Earlier this week, soldiers have reportedly arrested the prime minister known for dealing cocaine to Europe.

With the turmoil ready to erupt in the tiny country of no more than 1.5 million people, the United States of America today expressed condemnation of the attempt by certain elements of the military to forcibly seize power and undermine the legitimate civilian leadership of Guinea-Bissau.

Deputy Spokeperson Mark C. Toner said the United States regret that soldiers have chosen to disrupt the democratic process, which already was challenged by the opposition’s call to boycott the second round of elections.

The United States urges all parties to put down their weapons, release government leaders immediately, and restore the legitimate civilian leadership.

“We are deeply concerned about the safety of all those in Bissau, and call for maximum restraint on all sides.” -Mr. Toner

Mr. Toner adds that the US government will continue to work with our partners in the region and beyond as they monitor developments on the ground.

Guinea-Bissau is located bordering Senegal and Guinea Conakry on the far Western coast of the African continent. The small country is not particularly known for its sturdy political values.

On December 2011, media reports indicated that Guinea-Bissau’s navy commander has been arrested after disturbances erupted, which some of the country’s senior officials described as a coup attempt.

Army chief Antonio Indjai said authorities had arrested navy chief Natchuto Bubo for attempting to sieze power, while the ill leader of coup-prone West African country underwent medical treatment abroad.

In the years that followed, the country was plagued by coups, coup attempts and, in 2009, the assassination of then president Joao Bernardo Vieira.

On March this year, citizens of Guinea-Bissau went to elect a new president.

The coup-prone country’s election took place two months after the death of President Malam Bacai Sanha, who died following a prolonged illness.

Violence has marked the country’s history since it fought for, and ultimately won, independence from Portugal in 1974. Prominent rivalries between military and political leaders have sparked repeated coups and attempted coups, and a civil war in the late 1990s.

Mina Fabulous
Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn't preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.