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Chronology of events since June 6 1998

June 6, 1998: President Joao Bernardo Vieira fires armed forces chief of staff Brigadier General Ansumane Mane.

June 7, 1998: Self-styled Military Junta attempts and fails to oust Vieira. Fighting starts. Some 1,200 Senegalese and 400 Guinean troops fly in to support Vieira. Fighting in Bissau forces many of its 300,000 residents to flee.

July 5, 1998: Artillery battles intensify and shells land on Bra military barracks and the area around the airport in Bissau.

July 26, 1998: The two sides agree to a ceasefire while negotiations continue with the aid of Portugal.

July 26, 1998: CPLP (Communidade dos Paises da Lingua Portuguesa) and ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) broker a truce between rebels and pro-Vieira forces.

August 26, 1998: Ceasefire signed between rebels and pro-Vieira forces in Praia, Cape Verde.

October 14, 1998: Truce broken and fighting resumes in the capital, Bissau.

November 1, 1998: Vieira and Mane sign peace agreement in Abuja, Nigeria. This deal calls for new elections in March and the withdrawal of all Guinean and Senegalese troops, to be replaced by ECOMOG peacekeeping troops.

January 14, 1999: Senegal withdraws its first contingent of 200 men. Guinea pulls out 30.

January 27, 1999: Bishop Settimo Arturo Ferrazetta, one of the peace brokers, dies of a heart ailment.

January 31, 1999: Shooting on the front line shatters the fragile
ceasefire agreed in the Abuja accord of 1 November 1998.

February 1, 1999: Shooting intensifies on the front lines, and residents flee the capital.

February 2, 1999: Prime Minister-designate Francisco Fadul accuses a French ship of bombarding Junta positions as fighting continues between the junta and Senegalese forces. The French diplomats deny the charge.

February 3-4, 1999: The chairman of ECOWAS, President Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo, sends his foreign minister, Joseph Kokou Koffigoh, to Guinea Bissau to broker a ceasefire between rebel troops and government forces.

February 4 1999: Three hundred ECOMOG peacekeepers from Benin and Niger land in Bissau from the French vessel, the Sirocco.

February 15, 1999: Mane and Vieira meet in Guinea Bissau for the first time since the war started. Talks arranged by the EU commissioner for humanitarian issues, Emma Bonino. They agree to disarm and quarter their troops. They also agree to create a committee to accelerate the inauguration of the national unity government.

February 17, 1999: At a meeting under the aegis of Togolese President Eyadema, as chairman of ECOWAS, Vieira and Mane meet and agree never again to resort to arms to settle their dispute.

February 20, 1999: The transitional government of national unity headed by Prime Minister Fadul is sworn in. The ceremony is attended by Portuguese Foreign Minister Jaime Gama and CPLP Executive Secretary Marcolino Moco. Cabinet is composed of nine ministers and seven secretaries of state. Vieira nominates five ministers and Mane four.

Fadul announces he is unable to hold elections in March as scheduled because refugees have still not returned, a population census has not been taken and polling agents have not been trained. Suggests September as a more realistic date.

February 28, 1999: First deadline for the withdrawal of all foreign troops, except ECOMOG.

March 5, 1999: The disarming and quartering of some 5,000 troops in and around Bissau begins. The exercise is supposed to last 45 days.

March 9, 1999: The Portuguese secretary of state for foreign affairs and cooperation, Mr Amado, leads a delegation composed of representatives of the Portuguese Institute of Cooperation and the Camoes Institute to Guinea Bissau. The aim: to relaunch cooperation programmes and discuss a proposed three-year aid package.

March 15, 1999: Last Senegalese troops leave. Guinean troops leave two days later.

March 16, 1999: Second and last deadline for the final withdrawal of Senegalese and Guinean troops. The 600-strong ECOMOG force is in place.

March 31, 1999: General and presidential elections due but fail to take place.

May 6, 1999: Mane's forces attack saying the presidential guards refused to disarm.

May 7, 1999: Chief of General Staff Brigadier Umberto Gomes announces surrender to Junta forces. Vieira seeks protection of French and later Portuguese Embassy.

May 9, 1999: Portugal grants Vieira political asylum.

November 28, 1999: Rescheduled general and legislative elections due.

[Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, IRIN reports and Wire services]


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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