Interim President, Prime Minister Arrested
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has condemned and rejected the ongoing attempt by a segment of the military in Guinea-Bissau to subvert the country’s constitutional order and truncate the democratic process initiated for the election of a legal successor to the late President Mallam Bacai Sanha.
Jonathan, according to a statement by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Dr. Reuben Abati, urged the military high command of Guinea-Bissau to refrain from any further action that threatens the lives of the elected leaders of the country and the established democratic order.
The President demanded the immediate release of all those being detained and the restoration of civil democratic rule and constitutional order.
He welcomed the soldiers’ declaration that they are not interested in political power, and urged them to take urgent action in confirmation of that declaration.
“Nigeria is ready and prepared to act, in concert with other members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to ensure that the collective effort being made by the people of Guinea-Bissau and friends of the country to entrench democracy, good governance and political stability in the country is not thwarted by an unwelcome military intervention in whatever guise,” he stated.
He disclosed that the grievances that may have prompted the soldiers to take the action were already being addressed by ECOWAS at its meeting in Abidjan, the capital of Cote D’Ivoire.
He therefore called on the military leadership of Guinea-Bissau to follow the path of honour and uphold the rightness of the country’s constitutional order in keeping with the global demand for democratic rule and good governance.
Jonathan called on the international community to condemn the brazen attempt to subvert the constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau.
Meanwhile, Guinea-Bissau’s Interim President, Raimundo Pereira and Prime Minister, Carlos Gomes (Jnr) were yesterday arrested by soldiers yesterday following their attack on his home with grenades.
An unidentified military commander said yesterday that the soldiers don’t want to take power, but intervened to halt foreign aggression in the country.
The statement came hours after the state radio station’s transmission was cut and explosions were heard throughout the capital.
ECOWAS called Thursday’s incident in the country, which has become a transshipment point for South American cocaine bound for Europe, “a reprehensible coup attempt.”
The putsch came weeks before the presidential runoff election, which Gomes was favoured to win.
Guinea-Bissau’s President died in January of complications from diabetes, leaving an interim leader in charge of the increasingly unstable country.
The military commander claimed that Gomes planned to allow troops from Angola, another former Portuguese colony, to attack Guinea-Bissau’s military forces.
Angolan state news agency, Angop, said the country sent about 200 troops to Guinea-Bissau in March last year to help reform its armed forces as part of a bilateral military agreement. Their mission recently ended, but the contingent remains in Bissau.
“The Military Command does not want power, but it was forced to act in this way to defend itself from the diplomatic maneuvers of the Guinea-Bissau government, which aims to annihilate the (country’s) armed forces, using foreign military force,” the Portuguese news agency, Lusa quoted the communiqué as saying.