The defense of Guinea-Bissau, which is based on selective military
service, comprises (2009) 6,500 men and is organized into
six battalions, two patrol vessels and two fighter aircraft.
Semi-military security forces amount to 2,000 men. The
material is older and of Soviet origin. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that GNB stands for Guinea-Bissau.
Defense costs decreased in 1985–2007 from 5.7% to 4.3% of
GDP. Since 2008, the EU has a three-year support program
aimed at reducing Guinea-Bissau's cocaine smuggling and
modernizing and streamlining military forces and reducing
them to 3,400 men.
After 6 years of exile in Portugal, the country's former
president Vieira returned to the country in April 2005.
Three months later, he won the second round of the
presidential election with 52.35% of the vote ahead of Malam
Bacai Sanhá of PAIGC who got 47.65%. Vieira was deployed to
the presidential post in October. The following month,
Arístides Gomes was appointed prime minister.
Former Interior Minister Marcelino Lopes Cabral was
arrested and charged in April 2006 for supporting Senegalese
rebels who have been fighting the Guinea-Bissau army along
the country's southern border since March.
In March 2007, a group of MPs broke out of the ruling
party group and formed a new coalition. When he no longer
had a majority in parliament, Prime Minister Aristides Gomes
resigned. Instead, Vieira appointed opposition leader
Martinho Ndafa Kabi as new prime minister in an attempt to
resolve the political crisis. The country's return to
democracy is hampered by the economic crisis that has raged
since the civil war.
The November 2008 parliamentary elections were won by
PAIGC, which received 67 of the Parliament's 100 seats.
President Vieira subsequently appointed Carlos Gomes Júnior
as new prime minister. That same month, the presidential
palace was attacked by soldiers, but the attack only cost a
vigil before being shot back.
Army Chief General Batista Tagme Na Waie was killed by an
assault on March 1, 2009. He was a bitter enemy of President
Vieira, and the following day the President himself was
killed by soldiers loyal to Waie. The army chief had already
survived several assassination attempts, but the deeper
background was never clarified. There were reports that
200kg of cocaine had been found in a military area prior to
the assault, and the assault may also be linked to this. At
the end of March, 3 senior officers were arrested in
connection with the incident. the attack on Waie: Colonel
Arsene Balde, Colonel Abdoulaye Ba and Brigadier General
Melcias Fernandes. The President of the National Assembly,
Raimundo Pereira, temporarily took over the presidential
post until a presidential election could be held in June.
The June/July 2009 presidential election was won by PAIGC
candidate, Malam Bacai Sanhá.
Following the failed coup attempt in November 2008, Rear
Admiral Bubo Na Tchuto fled to Gambia, where he was
arrested. Tchuto then returned to Guinea disguised as a
fisherman and sought refuge in a UN facility. The government
demanded him several times extradited, but in vain. On April
1, 2010, soldiers captured Tchuto from the UN outpost and at
the same time arrested the Prime Minister. Army Chief Zamora
Induta was also arrested. The day after, however, the air
escaped from the coup attempt. Soldiers led Prime Minister
Gomes to a meeting with President Sanhá, and Gomes
subsequently turned the coup attempt, calling it an
"incident." There is still strong tension within the
military and between this and the civil administration.
In September 2010, Guinea-Bissau signed a security
agreement with Angola, which meant that Angola would assist
Guinea's police and military for the next two years. In
March 2011, the Angolan Military Mission in Guinea-Bissau
(MISSANG) was opened with 200 soldiers from the Angola army.
The perspective was to put an end to the military coups and
drug trafficking that had plagued the West African state for
decades. The many small islands in the coastal area and a
military that has traditionally evaded palamentary control
have made the country a preferred hub for drug exports to
Europe. Admiral Na Tchuto was for years mentioned as one of
the most important officers involved in the traffic.