Saturday, March 2

ECOWAS condemns an “attempted coup” in Guinea-Bissau

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has condemned this Tuesday the “attempted coup” in Guinea-Bissau, after intense shooting was heard on Tuesday near the presidential palace of the African country.

“ECOWAS follows with great concern the evolution of the situation in Guinea-Bissau characterized this Tuesday, February 1, 2022, by military shots around the Government Palace,” the institution said in a statement.

The organization, made up of 15 countries in the region, “condemns this attempted coup and holds the military responsible for the physical integrity of President Umaro Sissoco Embalo and members of the government.” Likewise, the bloc has demanded that the soldiers “return to their barracks and maintain a republican posture.”

The ECOWAS statement was released after heavy weapons shots were heard around the presidential palace, which is surrounded by soldiers, according to the local newspaper Jornal O Democrata.

Inside the government building, a Council of Ministers was being held with the presence of the President of the Republic, Umaro Sissoco Embaló, and the Prime Minister, Nuno Gomes.

In videos shared by users on social networks, a soldier can be seen in the presidential compound shooting outside with a bazooka, as well as civilians running and screaming while shots are heard.

After the apparent coup attempt that has caused “many deaths”, according to EFE, the president of Guinea-Bissau has decided to broadcast through social networks that the situation is “under government control”.

“I’m fine, thank God. The situation is under government control. I thank the people of Guinea-Bissau and all the people beyond our country who have cared for my government and me,” he said on Twitter and Facebook. , where he has also attached photographs with the Prime Minister, Nuno Gomes and several senior Army officials.

In exclusive telephone statements to the pan-African magazine “Jeune Afrique”, the president has specified that the shootings have lasted five hours and that there have been “many dead”, although he has avoided specifying the figure. “They are the work of isolated elements,” added Sissoco.

The shooting at the presidential palace in Bissau comes after four coups in the West African region since August 2020, the last one in Burkina Faso on January 24.

Le calm revient à Bissau!

Posted by General Umaro El Mokhtar Sissoco Embalo on Tuesday, February 1, 2022

In mid-October 2021, the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Guinea-Bissau, General Biague Na N’Tan, denounced an attempted coup allegedly concocted by military commanders who wanted to mobilize young soldiers for this purpose. in exchange for money.

N’Tan assured then that “the Armed Forces have already moved away from politics” in this West African country which, since its independence from Portugal (declared in 1973 and recognized in 1974), has suffered numerous military uprisings, including four successful coups d’état, which has complicated its political and economic development.

In October 2019, the then Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau, Aristides Gomes, denounced an alleged coup attempt in order to prevent the holding of presidential elections, which took place on November 24 of that year. The winner of those elections was Umaro Sissoco Embaló, Brigadier General until the 1990s.

Embaló had the support of the Army, which, after his inauguration, occupied public television and radio after preventing the former government from reporting on his inauguration.

During the electoral campaign, Embaló presented himself as the best alternative against poverty and political paralysis in the country, which has been experiencing political difficulties and parliamentary paralysis for five years.

Guinea-Bissau ranks 175th out of 189 on the UN Human Development Index, and two-thirds of its population of 1.8 million live on less than two dollars a day. Since its independence from Portugal, the country has suffered at least nine attempted coups.