Only some weeks after the coup in Mali, another state in West Africa gets hit by a coup. Guinea-Bisseau is a small country, formerly a Portuguese colony, bordered by Guinea (which was a French colony) on its south and east, and Senegal to its north. The country is among one of the poorest in Africa and in the world, and its economy is based on agriculture (over 90% of exports consist of coconuts, nuts, and other crops).
READ BELOW FOR ITS CONVOLUTED HISTORY
Nationalist anti-colonial groups started in the 1960s led by Amilcar and Luis Cabral, receiving aid from Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. To this end the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) was established to fight Portuguese foces. The war lasted from 1963 to 1974 and turned into one of the bigger conflicts during that time. By 1971 the revolutionary forces had managed to occupy much of Portuguese Guinea. The country, along with other Portuguese holdings, received formal independence in 1974 following the Carnation Revolution which overthrew the Estado Novo regime of the dictator Salazar in Portugal.
The revolutionary leaders- the Cabral brothers- attempted to orient Guinean towards non-aligned nations and the Soviet bloc. One of the brothers, Amilcar, was assassinated in 1973 by a political rival aided by Portugeuse agents. The other, Luis, became the first president of the independent Guinea. Unification with Cape Verde became more unlikely by this point, and it in turn became a separate nation.
Luis was overthrown in a military coup in 1980 led by João Bernardo Vieira after economic chaos, which resulted in a military council until 1984. Through this period Vieira of the PAIGC (who was also in the initial post-independence period) was the dominant figure being president for most of this period until 1999.
After this essentially a one-party system arose, with multi-party elections only being held in 1994. A civil war broke out in 1998 after an attempted military coup in reaction to the legislative elections, which succeeded in creating a junta in 1999 that overthrew Vieira led by Ansumane Mané, and appointing a president in that stayed until presidential elections in 2000 that saw the pro-military candidate, Kumba Ialá, win.
Mane was eventually assassinated in 2000 as tensions between him and the president rose. Another coup occurred in 2003 that created another junta with legislative elections in 2004 which granted most seats to PAIGC, causing more unrest. In 2005 Vieira was elected again in the presidential elections, beating Iala, with more instability following with political violence (including the assassination of the Chief of Navy who was rival to Vieria) that led to tensions between him and military officerss who were involved in the 1999 coup. During this time a former rival of Vieira, Carlos Gomes Jr., was appointed Prime Minister, a total 180 of his positions.
Vieria was assassinated by mutinous soldiers in 2009 in response to the death of a Vieira rival, the Chief of Staff Tagme Na Waie. A temporary president, Raimundo Pereira, came in his place until another, Sanha, took power in presidential elections the same year. During this time more instability blew out which nearly culminated in a coup with PM Gomes taken hostage by the military over what appeared to be a personal bout between him and an Admiral who had been involved implicated in a coup attempt earlier that year.
The president, Sanha, died in January 2012 of complications from diabetes. Raimundo Pereira again took temporary power. Another presidential election was held in March 18th 2012, with Gomes declaring he would step down as PM to run as President. He ended up getting a plurality, but not a majority, forcing a run-off election that was to be held on April 29th. Gomes success in the first round and potential of victory infuriated the military and their candidate, Mohamed Ialá Embaló (the new name of Kumba Ialá, the president after the 2000 coup, who converted to Islam in 2008) who accused him of vote rigging.
And so fears of a coup were rising, and it was confirmed....
Interesting piece of trivia, no president of Guinea-Bissau has ever completed a term, having either died in office, assassinated, or overthrown in a coup.
Military arrest Guinea-Bissau prime minister
Army spokesman says Carlos Gomes Junior has been detained amid confusion over suspected coup in West African nation. Last Modified: 13 Apr 2012 16:06
Soldiers have arrested the prime minister of Guinea-Bissau, according to a military spokesman, the AP news agency has said.
Military press attache Francelino Cunha told AP on Friday that Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior was being held, but did not give details on where.
The announcement comes after Salome Gomes, the prime minister's wife, told the AFP news agency earlier in the day that her husband had been arrested by troops who attacked his residence the night before.
"He was arrested yesterday [Thursday] by some soldiers. They put him into a pickup truck and then sped off to an unknown destination," she said.
Alain Yero Mballo, a journalist based in the capital Bissau, told Al Jazeera that there is still much confusion on the whereabouts of the prime minister.
"There is some confusion of where the prime minister is. The president was also arrested but he is now back home. We are expecting the soldiers to meet political parties to talk about a possible solution," he said.
A communique from an unidentified military commander released on Friday said the soldiers did not want to seize power but instead were trying to halt an invasion from Angolan troops.
The whereabouts of Raimundo Pereira, the country's interim president, remains unknown, a day after attacks rocked the tiny country's capital.
Witnesses and diplomats in Bissau described explosions and heavy arms fires in Bissau late on Thursday night, with the home of Carlos Gomes Junior, the outgoing prime minister and presidential hopeful in runoff elections scheduled for later this month, coming under attack.
"It was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and we were forced to retreat," said a police officer who had been on guard at Gomes' residence.
The body representing nations in West Africa has called Thursday's violence a "reprehensible coup attempt".
An AFP correspondent reported that the military had taken control of the ruling party headquarters and national radio station, with rocket fire and shots also being heard.
Gomes had been expected to win a April 29 run-off election for the presidency after his challenger Kumba Yala, a former president who was overthrown in a 2003 coup, said he would boycott the polls because of irregularities in the first round of balloting.
The special election had been arranged after Guinea-Bissau's president died in January from diabetes-related complications.
Fears of a military coup have grown since his funeral, when power was handed over to Pereira.
The chronically unstable nation has been beset by coups since its independence from Portugal in 1974, and its ruler Joao Bernardo "Nino'' Vieira was assassinated inside his home in 2009.
Portuguese and American officials warned their citizens against travelling to the country.
"Last night there was a very large presence of the military in the streets," Peter Thompson, the head of the UK electoral observation mission, told Al Jazeera from Bissau.
"It did seem quite co-ordinated last night in terms of how the roads were shut off ... Today the streets are very calm, the city is much quieter than it normally would be. People are staying home.
"I do know that the army has taken control of the state media and state television, and they haven't released anything official."
Daniel Kablan Duncan, Ivory Coast's foreign minister, told reporters after a meeting of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the Ivorian capital Abidjan that the group condemned the "coup".
"We have received some difficult information from Guinea-Bissau, and this information indicates to us that there is a coup under way," he said.
"ECOWAS formally and rigorously condemns such an attempted coup d'etat."
Portugal, Guinea-Bissau's former colonial ruler, appealed for calm on Friday.
"The government is following the events in Guinea Bissau with great concern," a foreign ministry spokesperson said.
"The Portuguese government is appealing for a halt to the violence and respect for the law."
The five main opposition candidates, including Yala, had said during a joint news conference on Thursday evening that the boycott of the April 29 election would be in the name of justice.
The West African country has weathered successive coups, and attempted coups, since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974.
Last Saturday, the UN Security Council urged candidates and voters to "exercise restraint" and "resolve their disputes in accordance with the constitutional framework".
They underscored the importance of successful elections to progress on peace-building priorities, including demobilising troops and police, fighting drug trafficking and promoting national reconciliation.
So it seems Gomes is once again arrested by disgruntled military officials as he was in 2010. Man oh man, after a lull of coups in 2011 in Africa, (with only one in Nigeria in 2010) there's already two coming right out of the gate in 2012.
Guinea-Bissau has been suspended from the African Union over the events of the coup as well as its aftermath which saw several other figures arrested too, including the interim president Raimundo Pereira.
The African Union suspended Guinea-Bissau on Tuesday over last week’s coup, adding to pressure on military chiefs who said they were ready to restore power to civilians after talks with regional mediators. Foreign governments and international organizations have condemned the military for cutting short a presidential election and detaining the front-runner, former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Jr., as well as the interim president, Raimundo Pereira. A delegation from the West African regional group Ecowas met with the military overnight, and the Ecowas Commission president, Desiré Kadré Ouedraogo, said Tuesday that there had been an agreement “on the return to constitutional order.” Lt. Col. Daha Bana na Walna, a military spokesman, said Ecowas would send a technical team to help restore civilian rule. But he rejected the Ecowas demand that Mr. Gomes and Mr. Pereira be returned to power, calling it “out of the question,” and saying that the aim of the April 12 coup had been to end their mandates.
The African Union also suspended Mali after its coup, and they join Madagascar which has been suspended since 2009 over its own coup which killed over a 100 people.
I didn't make it!
Any other latest news regarding that..!!! business phones