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Military


Ministry of National Defense
Ministério da Defesa Nacional

Joao Bernardo Vieira, Commissioner (Minister) of Defense and Commander of the Armed Forces of Guinea-Bissau, was selected in July 1978 to replace Francisco Mendes as Principal Commissioner (Prime Minister). Vieira was invited by the President of the Council of State to occupy the office left vacant by Mendes' accidental death. Vieira was one of candidates whose qualifications and position appeared to be just what PAIGC required for the job.

A true national hero, Vieira, whose nome d'guerre was Nino, was a man of action during the independence struggle. He was perhaps the most priminent black Guinean of the war years. Vieira left Bissau in 1959 after the Pidgiguiti incident and was one of first guerrillas in the field after training in Conakry and China. From 1961-64 he was Political Commissioner in the Catio region, in the southern part of the country. Captured in 1962, his successful escape [aided by his comrades] from Portuguese custody added luster to his fame as a man of action and importance to the Guinean population. In 1964, he assumed command of the southern front and became a member of the Political Bureau of the War Council in 1965, and in 1971 took charge of all military operations.

At the second congress of the PAIGC in 1973 Vieira was elected a member of the Permanent Secretariat of the Executive Committee of the Struggle and in September 1973, President of the National Sssembly. The elevation of Vieira to Principal Commissioner placed a true Guinean hero, popular with the armed forces, in a prominent civil / political position in the government hierarchy.

Chief of Defense General Batista Tagme Na Waie, was widely believed to be important for drug traffickers. On 01 March 2009 the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of G-B, Mr. Na Waie, was killed by a car bomb. A day later, his rival and President of G-B, João Vieira, was shot by a group of soldiers. Emergency presidential elections were called for and the first round took place in June 2009. Right before that, one of the candidates, Major Baciro Dabó was also assassinated by security forces. The exact details about all these events remain unsure.

The United States Government releases an annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. The United States compiles the human rights report because it believes it is imperative for all countries, to ensure respect for human rights. The 2010 report documents the status of internationally recognized human rights in Guinea Bissau and 190 other countries. In both the 2009 and 2010 reports, we documented that “there were no developments in the cases of the 2009 killings of former president Vieira and former armed forces chief of staff General Jose Batista Tagme Na Waie” and that “soldiers under the command of Colonel Antonio Indjai tortured and then hacked Vieira to death."

On 24 June 2010, the Council of Ministers endorsed a proposal by the Minister of Defence for the nomination of Major General António Indjai as the new Chief of General Staff and forwarded it to President Malam Bacai Sanha. The next day, President Sanha signed a decree dismissing Vice Admiral José Zamora Induta as Chief of General Staff and appointing Major General Indjai, who was subsequently promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General. On 26 June, the ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) praised the efforts of both the President and the Prime Minister to find a solution to the crisis affecting the country since 01 April 2010.

While the opposition Social Renewal Party (PRS) also welcomed the appointment, civil society organizations voiced their concern over what they saw as a pattern of impunity in the armed forces. On 9 July, President Sanha convened a session of the Council of Defence and Security and urged the military to demonstrate higher standards of discipline, warning that members of the armed forces found to be involved in drug trafficking would immediately be dismissed. President Sanha defended the appointment and promotion of Lieutenant General Indjai as a sovereign decision in conformity with the Constitution.

Military developments were mainly dominated by the concerns raised over the effectiveness of the military leadership following the promotion of Major General Antonio Indjai to Lieutenant General as the new Chief of General Staff, as well as the subsequent readjustments in the leadership of the armed forces. During his swearing-in ceremony on 29 June 2010, the new Chief of General Staff stressed his strong commitment to remaining subordinate to the civilian leadership and to working closely with international partners to achieve tangible progress on security sector reform. Meanwhile, President Sanha undertook a series of visits to military barracks in Bissau, concluded that the state of degradation of military premises was unacceptable and called for the Government to prioritize the improvement of military infrastructure.

The Ministry of National Defense, which is part of the State Department of Freedom of the Nation, is the government department responsible for formulating, proposing, coordinating and executing Government policies in the area of National Defense and National Freedom Fighters. The Ministry of National Defense integrates the services, bodies and entities responsible for national defense, and comprises the following central bodies and services:

  • The Secretary General;
  • The General Inspection;
  • The General Direction of National Defense Policy;
  • The General Directorate of Infrastructures;
  • The General Direction of Logistics and Armament;
  • The General Directorate of Human Resources;
  • The General Directorate of Production and Modernization of the Armed Forces;
  • The Defense Information and Strategic Analysis Center;
  • The General Direction of the Combatants of the Freedom of the Homeland;
  • The Directorate General for Social Assistance and Reinsertion;

These offices depend directly on the Minister of National Defense:

  • The General Secretariat;
  • The General Inspection;
  • The General Direction of National Defense Policy;
  • The General Directorate of Infrastructures;
  • The General Direction of Logistics and Armament;
  • The General Directorate of Human Resources;
  • The Directorate General of Production and Modernization of the Armed Forces;
  • The Defense Information and Strategic Analysis Center;

The Minister has also under the authority of:

  • The General Staff of the Armed Forces;
  • The General Inspection of the Armed Forces;
  • The Superior Military Court;
  • The Military Prosecutor's Office;
  • The Military Judiciary Police.

It is incumbent upon the Minister of National Defense to preside over the Military Superior Council. They depend on the Secretary of State for Combatants of the Freedom of the Homeland. The Minister of National Defense is responsible for the following bodies:

  • The General Direction of the Combatants of the Freedom of the Homeland;
  • The General Directorate of Social Assistance and Reinsertion;
  • The National Defense Institute;
  • The National Commission to Combat the Proliferation of Light Weapons.

The Secretary of State for Combatants of the Freedom of the Mother Country shall exercise guardianship over the following organizations:

  • The Anti-Mine Action Coordination Center;
  • The National Liberation Struggle Historical Data Collection Center;





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