By Aneesa Fazel
Tension between the Guinea-Bissau President and military soldiers ended in bloodshed and feuds on the weekend of 1 March. According to a report by News24, in retaliation to the death of Military Chief of Staff, Tagme Na Waie, on the Sunday morning, angry soldiers planned the successful assassination of President Nino Vieira at his home early the next day. Military spokesman, Zamora Induta, earlier confirmed that “the President was one of the main people responsible for the death of Tagme Na Waie”. People of the poverty-stricken country seemed unmoved by the death of their president. Zique Choaib, a Guinea-Bissau journalist, said, “What are we supposed to do, cry? Demand justice? The powerful people at the top have been fighting each other for decades. They’ll keep fighting. It’s really nothing new.”
Guinea-Bissau, one of the world’s smallest and poorest countries, has been hit with a number of coups and attempted coups in the last ten years. Late last year, the President’s residence was attacked, leaving two security guards dead. After being ousted as President during the 1998 Guinea-Bissau civil war, President Vieira was once again voted in at the June 2005 presidential elections, after returning from exile. His assassination earlier this month is seen as another coup attempt on Guinea-Bissau.
Much blame for the country’s current disasters is being rested on President Vieira, owing to ongoing fighting for power. However, top executive of the African Union, Jean Ping, strongly condemned the attack on President Nino Vieira, saying it was a “criminal act”. He further condemned any attempts to seize power of Guinea-Bissau through unconstitutional means.