Guinea-Bissau unrest draws condemnation from international society

Guinea-Bissau unrest draws condemnation from international society
# 14 April 2012 22:56 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. The coup made by members of the Guinea-Bissau military on Thursday night that resulted in overthrow of the West African country’s government has drawn serious condemnation from the international society, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWA)’s Commission President Desire Kadre Oueadraogo said in a statement released on Friday that the ECOWAS Commission wishes to "unreservedly condemn this irresponsible act which is a demonstration of a desire to keep Guinea-Bissau in a state of decline."

The statement demanded "an immediate" return to constitutional order to enable the completion of the ongoing electoral process in the country.

On Thursday night, the soldiers occupied the national radio and abducted interim President Raimundo Pereira and ex-prime minister Carlos Domingos Gomes Junior, who is a front runner in the scheduled April 29 presidential run-off.

Government ministers under Gomes Junior, who just resigned ahead of the first round of election on March 18, were also detained in what the regional bloc ECOWAS described as a coup attempt.

ECOWAS was created in 1975 with the objective of promoting cooperation and integration among its member states that include Mali and Guinea Bissau.

African Union Commission chief Jean Ping also blasted the "unconstitutional seizure of power and attempt at undermining the democratic process in Guinea-Bissau."

Not only the regional blocs, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday also voiced strong condemnation.

"The secretary-general is extremely concerned about the reported arrest and detention of key public officials," said a statement released Friday by Ban’ s spokesperson.

"He calls on the armed forces of Guinea-Bissau to immediately and unconditionally release all detainees and ensure the safety and security of the general population, as well as of members of the international community in Guinea-Bissau," the statement said.

According to the statement, Ban urged the armed forces to take immediate steps to return the country to civilian rule and to respect constitutional order and rule of law in Guinea-Bissau.

"He urges the people of Guinea-Bissau to remain calm and to refrain from violence or acts of vandalism during this period," said the statement.

He reiterates the commitment of the United Nations to continue to support the constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau in ensuring sustainable peace and stability in the country.

As neighbors on the same Africa continent, Nigeria and Tunisia also condemned the coup in Guinea-Bissau.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday demanded the immediate release of all those being detained and the restoration of civil democratic rule and constitutional order.

He assured the people of Guinea-Bissau of Nigeria’s readiness to act in concert with other members of ECOWAS to ensure that the collective effort being made by the people of Guinea-Bissau and friends of the countries to entrench democracy, good governance and political stability in the country is not thwarted by an unwelcome military intervention in whatever guise.

And according to the Tunisia’s official TAP press agency, the presidency of the Republic of Tunisia on Saturday released a communique, saying that "Tunisia firmly condemns the use of force to accede to power and reaffirms its attachment to respect constitutional legitimacy.

The country was "closely monitoring" developments in Guinea- Bissau, added the communique.

It also calls for the liberation of the officials detained and calls for respect of the territorial integrity and security of Guinea-Bissau.

The military released on Friday a statement indicating the reasons for their coup.

The statement said a secret agreement between Guinea-Bissau and Angola aims to make legitimate the presence of Angolan technical- military cooperation mission in Guinea-Bissau (MISSANG) in order to physically eliminate the military leader General Antonio Injai.

MISSANG ended its mission early in the week amid mounting pressure from some military officers and politicians. The mission was launched on March 21, 2011 to help with the military reform in Guinea-Bissau.

To uproot instability besetting the country for years, especially after the assassination of former president Nino Vieira and ex-army chief Batista Tagm na Wai in March 2009, ECOWAS decided to promote the country’s military reform.

However, the cancellation of MISSANG marked a setback in the reform of the military, which is linked to a series of coups or coup attempts since its independence from Portugal in 1974.