Guinea-Bissau is a country located in West Africa. With a population of around 1.8 million people, it is one of the smallest countries in the region. Guinea-Bissau is a presidential republic and its military consists of three branches: the Army, Air Force and Navy. The Armed Forces are responsible for defending the country’s borders and sovereignty, as well as providing security to its citizens. In terms of defense spending, Guinea-Bissau spends approximately $50 million annually on its military, making it one of the highest defense spending nations in West Africa. The country also participates in several United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions such as those in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Guinea-Bissau is also a member of both the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Mano River Union (MRU), and has close ties with other ECOWAS members such as Nigeria and Senegal. See naturegnosis to learn more about the country of Guinea-Bissau.
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.
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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.