IRIN | ANALYSIS: Development setback after latest Guinea-Bissau coup
The UN Security Council has threatened sanctions; and the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLC) has proposed sending “peacekeepers” to the country.
On 12 April military leaders detained Prime Minister and presidential candidate Carols Gomes Jr (known as Cadogo) and interim President Raimundo Pereira, going on to appoint failed presidential candidate Manuel Serifo Nhamajo as president of a proposed two-year transitional government in a move which the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) deemed “illegal” and which has also been strongly condemned by the UN Security Council, European Union, African Union and CPLC.
Since 1994 no elected president in Guinea-Bissau has finished his mandate.
The UN Security Council on 21 April threatened to impose sanctions against coup-leaders. Following this announcement, the Junta allegedly shifted its hardline stance, telling a reporter the two-year transition government was just a proposal, according to one international press report. ECOWAS communications director Sonny Ugoh announced on 19 April that it was “completely taken aback” by the transition proposal.
The CPLC has taken a more hardline approach from the start, pushing for a peacekeeping intervention force. Following a 19 April meeting of the UN Security Council, Guinea-Bissau Foreign Minister Mamadu Saliu Djalo praised the idea of sending a peacekeeping force to the country. But no final decision has been made.
Several Bissau residents IRIN spoke to welcomed the notion of foreign intervention. Deolinda Tavares, a 65-year-old market-seller, told IRIN: “We have tarnished our image and our credibility is forever lost to the world.”
Alimatou Touré, a 50-year-old housewife is outraged and fed up. “This is not a normal situation in which we live… Democracy is the only way that people can follow to be free and sovereign.”
However, Guinea-Bissau expert Vincent Foucher of the International Crisis Group fears an international intervention against the junta, which has no consent from the army, could lead to bloodshed in a situation which has thus far been death-free; and could radicalize, criminalize, and factionalize the military junta leaders. “In this case, while it is essential to have it in the toolkit to demonstrate that the international community means business, it is far too early to use it - negotiation is what is needed now,” he told IRIN.
FULL ARTICLE (IRIN)