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Fears of unrest as Guinea Bissau names new military chief

Fears of unrest as Guinea Bissau names new military chief


Guinea Bissau’s prime minister Baciro Dja has quelled rumours of discontent in the army after a new chief was named to head the country’s military.

On Thursday, the government announced it had appointed Carlos Alfredo Mandungal to the position of Chief of Staff of the Navy replacing Klucé Sanha, who died in late May.

Mr. Mandungal, 55, previously served as deputy head of the Navy and has been trained in Russia.

The announcement however sparked rumors in the coup-prone West African nation as there was no clear indication of the fate of current head of the army, Biague Nantam, who has been in office since September 2014.

Reports say there have been fears of unrest in some sections of the army following the military reshuffle.

But in an interview with AFP in Bissau, Prime Minister Dja assured that Nantam had not been not sacked and that Mandungal was promoted to head the military council.

Dja said the proposal was submitted by Guinea Bissau’s ministry of defence, which approved “the official appointment of Mandungal as “the Navy chief and called it “a normal procedure”.

No major changes have been made in other branches of the military and the rumors that circulated are unfounded, Dja added.

A small country of 1.6 million inhabitants, Guinea-Bissau has experienced since independence from Portugal in 1974 numerous coups, in which the military has generally played a leading role.

The country has undergone nine coups or attempted coups since 1980 and no elected leader has served a full term since independence.