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Angolan Technical Military and Security Mission in Guinea Bissau (MISSANG-GB)

Angola has become increasingly more involved in the affairs of Guinea-Bissau, both bilaterally on political, economic, and military issues as well as through the Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa (CPLP), which was chaired by Angola in 2010-2012. The mining firm Bauxite Angola announced in 2007 a $321 million investment in Guinea-Bissau and paid a $13 million upfront fee to the government to mine bauxite deposits (the main ingredient in aluminum) in the southeastern region of the country and to develop a port in Buba to facilitate exports. In August 2010, Angola assumed the main financial load and campaigned for security sector reforms. In September 2010, a bilateral Technical and Military Assistance Protocol was signed in Luanda by Guinea-Bissau Minister of Defense Aristides Ocante da Silva and his Angolan counterpart Cândido Pereira Van-Dúnem. Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior and Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos both affirmed their support for the effort during joint public remarks, laying the foundation for the March 2011 launch of the Angolan Security Mission to Guinea-Bissau (MISSANG) that eventually numbered 600 troops to implement a $30 million security sector reform effort. In March 2011 the Angolan Technical Military and Security Mission in Guinea Bissau (MISSANG-GB - Missão Militar Angolana na Guiné-Bissau) began a three-phase operation in Guinea-Bissau with the training of 400 men in police and military procedures. The Angolan mission was deployed with the approval of the Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa (CPLP - Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries), a Lusophone version of the British Commonwealth or the French Francophonie.

General Indjai suspected that MISSANG was primarily intended to support and protect Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior and Angola’s interests in the country. He claimed the troops were armed with heavy weaponry and tanks, which were inappropriate for a security sector reform mission. Serious problems began after President Malam Bacai Sanhá took ill and was hospitalised in Paris. On 26 December 2011, while Sanhá was convalescing in the hospital, the army attempted a coup, which was foiled by MISSANG. The relationship between MISSANG and the army completely broke down as a result, with the latter accusing MISSANG of acting as the personal guard of Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior. President Sanhá died on 9 January 2012.

On 10 April 2012, Angola announced it was withdrawing MISSANG. The military seized power in Guinea-Bissau on 12 April 2012. Calling themselves the Military Command, the participants in the coup aborted preparations for run-off presidential elections slated for 22 April. The leaders of the Military Command had cited the presence of MISSANG in the country as a prime cause of the coup.

Following the April 2012 coup d’état, MISSANG withdrew from the country. The Angolan government announced on 12 June 2012 in Luanda that it concluded fully the withdrawal of MISSANG forces in the territory of Guinea Bissau. According to a press note from the Angolan government, which reached Angop, the process included a complete withdrawal by sea and air of all military personnel, as well as all military equipment and techniques of Missang. The ECOWAS Mission for Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB) deployed 677 troops in May 2012, first to oversee the MISSANG withdrawal and, under an expanded mandate, to support the transition and ongoing security sector reform efforts.

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Page last modified: 04-05-2017 19:27:01 ZULU