Guinea Bissau’s self-styled Military Junta has proposed that observers from the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) oversee the Abuja peace accord, because of the delay in deploying the West African interposition force, ECOMOG, a Western diplomat told IRIN today. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the atmosphere in Bissau as potentially dangerous because Senegalese and Junta forces were facing off not too far from each other.
“There is nervousness in the Junta because of the continued presence of the Senegalese in the country,” the diplomat said.
Senegal and Guinea sent troops to support President Joao Bernardo Vieira following an army mutiny in 1998. The Junta, which controls most of the country, has demanded the withdrawal of the Senegalese and Guineans. Their departure and, simultaneously, the deployment of ECOMOG troops is a provision in the Abuja accords signed in November 1998 between the Junta and the beleagued Vieira government. The withdrawal is due to start on 10 January.
But ECOMOG, which is battling rebels in Sierra Leone, has failed to deploy fully in Guinea Bissau. So far, only some 120 Togolese ECOMOG troops have arrived in Bissau to secure the city’s airport. Gambia is also supposed to send a company.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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