Guinea Bissau president survives W. Africa’s latest coup attempt

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OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) – Cheering crowds welcomed Guinea Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo’s election victory in 2020, however his opponents alleged fraud. When he was sworn in earlier than the Supreme Court had ratified the vote, critics referred to as it a coup.

It’s a time period Guinea Bissau’s politicians know nicely: The West African nation of 1.6 million individuals has had 9 coups or tried coups since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974. Only one democratically elected president has accomplished a full time period in workplace.

Despite some fragile alliances that helped Embalo climate the preliminary political storm, he has by no means shrugged off the questions surrounding his win.

On Tuesday, as Embalo, 49, was presiding over a unprecedented Cabinet assembly within the capital Bissau, heavy gunfire rang out close by. For hours, Embalo’s whereabouts or wellbeing couldn’t be confirmed, elevating issues that an tried putsch was underway.

An overthrow attempt appeared to have stalled. Embalo posted a photograph on Facebook late on Tuesday displaying him sitting with advisers and males in navy fatigues.

“The state of affairs is below authorities management,” stated a Twitter put up from an unverified account below his title.

So far, little is understood about what occurred earlier within the day. It was not clear who fired the photographs or whether or not anybody was killed. Embalo was seen coming into a constructing at a ministerial compound for the assembly at round 10 a.m. GMT, with a heavy safety element.

Diplomats and safety sources earlier feared that he was the latest goal in a rash of navy takeovers which have swept the area within the final 18 months, together with in Mali, Chad, Guinea and, simply final week, Burkina Faso.

The coups have undermined democratic advances for the reason that Nineties that helped the area shed its fame as a “coup belt”.

“It appears more and more onerous to argue in opposition to the concept of coup contagion – that coups in a single place encourage them in one other – following the chain of occasions prior to now yr,” stated Eric Humphery-Smith, Africa analyst in danger consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.

POLITICAL DEADLOCK

Embalo, a former prime minister and former military normal, served as prime minister below Jose Mario Vaz from 2016 to 2018.

He attended the National Defence Center of Spain and accomplished programs in management and political sciences in Portugal, the United States and Japan.

As president, he has sought nearer political ties with Portugal and urged the nation to unite.

“I name for union, reconciliation and harmony for a peaceable life in Guinea Bissau,” Embalo stated after his victory was first introduced by the nationwide election fee in January 2020.

But stabilising Guinea Bissau has been a tricky process from the beginning. After he was elected, parliament run by the opposition arrange a rival interim president.

Its scattered Atlantic islands, mangrove mazes and unpoliced waters are a draw for vacationers but in addition cocaine traffickers en route from South America to Europe.

Its political system, wherein the bulk social gathering or coalition appoints the federal government however the president has the facility to dismiss it in sure circumstances, has been beset by political impasse and infighting prior to now.

Its fragile economic system usually finds itself hostage to the unstable worth of cashew nuts, the principle earnings supply for over two-thirds of households.

(Reporting by Edward McAllister; enhancing by Jonathan Oatis)



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