Coherent Identifier About this item: 20.500.12592/0dc3k9

COCAINE POLITICS IN WEST AFRICA Guinea-Bissau’s protection networks - LUCIA BIRD

21 July 2022

Summary

Had the incident resulted in a military overthrow of power, it would have been the fifth successful coup in Guinea-Bissau’s history, and also the fifth coup in West Africa in the preceding 12 months, hot on the heels of the seizure of power in Burkina Faso in late January.1 Hours after the gunfire had begun, President Umaro Sissoco Embaló addressed the press, condemning the incident and declaring. [...] This report explores the role, past and present, of the cocaine trade both as a driver of political instability in the country and as a source of resilience for elite power-sharing arrangements.4 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 The report first considers the drivers of conflict in Guinea-Bissau, before focusing on the role of illicit markets, and more specifically the cocaine trade, in shaping Bissau’s politi. [...] The deployment significantly strengthens the president’s position in the country, creating a buffer against the Bissau-Guinean military, and potentially deterring actions to topple the president on the part of the Balanta elements of the military.87 There is precedent for Guinea-Bissau’s military taking action to stave off perceived threats to its influence within the country. [...] breach of procedure; all these appointments may While an acceleration of this trend commenced result in further alignment of the judiciary with the around 2006, if coupled with effective disempower- imperatives of the executive.119 The surprise and ment of elements of the military traditionally pivotal controversial 23 June 2022 acquittal by the Supreme to the cocaine trade, the importance of the. [...] The appointment of Sambú, the former and 2022 were made by the airport’s AIRCOP JAITF president of the national election commission in unit on individuals leaving Guinea-Bissau through the Guinea-Bissau – a body that played a key role in airport.) The one exception, a Judicial Police seizure accepting the results of the controversial and of 5 kilograms of cocaine in October 2021 as part of contest.

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