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EU SSR Guinea-Bissau: the mission ends prematurely

EussGuineeBissau.jpg(BRUSSELS2) Yes! The decision in principle has been taken since the last meeting of the COPS (1). The EU mission to reform security forces in Guinea-Bissau will officially end at its provisional end of September 30. CIVCOM (the committee responsible for the civil aspects of EU crisis management) is expected to discuss the issue this Friday.

A premature end

This anticipated closure of the mission is linked to political and military events in this West African state, considered internationally as a narco-state. In April, the Chief of Staff (José Zamora Induta) and the Prime Minister (Carlos Gomez Junior) were arrested (2) by a group of mutineers led by the Deputy Chief of Staff (Antonio Indjai) and supported by the head of the navy, Rear Admiral Bubo Na Tchute. A troubled character, suspected of covering part of the cocaine trafficking and another (failed) coup d'état in August 2008. The Prime Minister was then released but placed under house arrest (3).

The EU then put a question mark on the future of its mission. The EU SSR mission was thus only extended, at the end of May, by four months. And a new head of mission, a Colonel, appointed on July 1, Fernando Afonso. The confirmation of the new Chief of Staff and the de facto transfer of the civilian government under the control of the military command, sounded the death knell of the European operation; the EU deciding to end its cooperation with the former Portuguese colony (1).

A first in the history of European defense

This is the first time in the short history of European Defense that a mission has been interrupted prematurely in this way. And there is a bit of bitterness among the officers who participated in this mission, especially for General Esteban Verástegui, who was its first leader and did not spare his efforts (4), with some results beginning to be seen. make feel.

Today, the technical and administrative arrangements for the end of the mission still need to be clarified (hence the purpose of Friday's meeting, which could be followed by others at the end of August or beginning of September, if necessary) . On site, in the capital Bissau, only 4 EU officers remain.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(1) Read: The future of European engagement in Guinea-Bissau discussed. Suspension of the EUSSR mission?

(2) An event which adds to the successive assassination of the previous Chief of Staff and the President of the Republic Vieira in 2009.

(3) Without laughing, the current President of the Republic, Malam Bacaï Sanha described these arrests as “a tragic accident between the military leaders of the barracks which troubled the country for a few hours” (read on Afrik.com)

(4) Consult his interview at the start of the mission: Guinea-Bissau Mission: “rebuilding from zero” (Gen. Verástegui)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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