Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –
(GIN) – Dueling political factions ended the year in bloodshed as dissidents within the military sought unsuccessfully to remove the government of President Malam Bacai Sanha in a surprise coup.
Supporters of Pres. Sanha captured Major Yaya Dabo, a suspected coup plotter, and executed him as he was being driven to surrender at the police station. Some 30 arrests were reported, and many soldiers were wounded including two generals and a lieutenant.
The country on the West African coast has endured numerous coups and counter-coups since independence from Portugal in 1974. A major hub for cocaine smuggled from Latin America to Europe, the nation is saddled by foreign debt and depends on foreign aid. The majority of its people have no electricity or clean running water, and there are few jobs for young people.
After suppressing the coup, Army chief General Antonio Indjai reported finding a “staggering” amount of weapons at the homes of renegade soldiers, namely 30 Kalashnikovs, three rocket-launchers, a machine-gun, six crates of shells, three crates of flamethrowers, and eight bulletproof jackets.
President Sanha, who suffers from advanced diabetes, has been hospitalized in France since early December, and was reportedly placed in a medical coma during treatment. The fighting that ensued in his absence was strongly condemned by the Economic Community of West African States, the United Nations, the African Union and the World Bank.
Meanwhile, Parliamentarian Raimundo Pereira highlighted the country’s forthcoming privatizations in the telecoms, utility, forestry, publishing and transportation sectors at a meeting of hedge fund and institutional fund managers and investors at the inaugural UK-Guinea Bissau Investment Summit in London. A UK trade mission to Guinea-Bissau is planned for later this year.
Last year, the US Treasury Department froze the assets of navy chief Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto — now under arrest for his role in the alleged coup plot — and airforce head Ibraima Papa Camara for their “significant role” in drug trafficking.
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