Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo on Friday sacked three ministers a day after appointing them when they failed to show up for a swearing-in ceremony, according to a decree and the presidency.
The three “shall be removed from office”, said the ruling, naming education minister Tcherno Djalo, natural resources minister Fernando Dias and energy and industry minister Mario Fambe.
The trio did not take part in the swearing-in of the new government on Friday and “provided no explanation to justify their absence”, the presidency said in a statement.
They are all members of the Party for Social Renewal (PRS), part of the ruling coalition led by the president’s Madem party.
Embalo announced a new 36-member government on Thursday.
“We sent him a list of leaders selected to be part of the new government,” a PRS official told AFP, asking not to be named.
“He did not take it into account. He did what he felt like. He’s responsible for what happens next.”
As part of strengthening and enhancing security in the West African sub-region, the Nigerian Army has deployed 173 officers and soldiers to Guinea Bissau on an ECOWAS peacekeeping Operation.
The Chief of Operations, Army Headquarters, Major General Oluwafemi Akinjobi, announced this on Thursday at the graduation and pre-deployment training of the troops from the Martin Luther Agwai Peacekeeping Centre in Jaji Kaduna State.
The graduation comes ahead of their departure to Bissau, the Guinea Bissau capital as they are expected to leave Nigeria immediately after their induction.
While addressing the troops, the Chief of Operations, represented by Major General Zakari Abubakar, warned the contingent to abide by the rules of engagement, exhibit braveness as professionals, and also respect the cultural sensitivity of the people of Guinea Bissau.
“Nigeria remains the beacon of peace and gatekeeper of the ECOWAS sub-region. Consequently, the Federal Government of Nigeria is committed to the deployment of a contingent to maintain peace in the Republic of Guinea Bissau,” he said.
“The history of peacekeeping in Africa cannot be written without the commitment and sacrifices of Nigeria. The first contingent of Nigerian peacekeepers was deployed in 1960 shortly after our independence.
“Since then, Nigeria has contributed over 100,000 peacekeepers in over 40 peacekeeping missions in Africa and across the globe. I must say with pride that our peacekeepers have had to restore peace in many conflict areas around the globe which has earned Nigeria many national and individual commendations from several nations.”
Abubakar reminded the soldiers of the United Nations’ zero tolerance for drug trafficking and human rights abuse.
He also asked them to avoid indecent characters capable of tarnishing the image of the Nigerian Army and the nation in general.
In his remarks, the Commandant of the Martin Luther Agwai Peacekeeping Centre, Major General Auwal Fagge, also highlighted the importance of the pre-deployment training.
He said the training is in line with the Nigerian Army Headquarters’ desire to ensure that troops receive the needed robust and theatre-specific pre-deployment training prior to their induction into peacekeeping missions.
Fagge expressed confidence that the high level of enthusiasm and cohesion exhibited by the soldiers and officers will reflect on their operational conduct abroad.
President Muhammadu Buhari Sunday morning got a comprehensive briefing on the coup attempt to oust President Umaru Sissoco Embalo of Guinea-Bissau, but which was aborted by loyalist forces.
On the sidelines of the African Union Summit of Heads of State and Government holding in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Nigerian President met with Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guinea-Bissau, Suzi Barbosa, who gave graphic presentation of the attempt to overthrow the constitutional order in her country.
Guinea-Bissau’s capital appeared calm on Wednesday a day after President Umaro Sissoco Embalo survived a gun attack, as France joined condemnation for what has been called an attempted coup in one of Africa’s most unstable countries.
Heavily armed men on Tuesday afternoon surrounded government buildings in the capital Bissau where Embalo and his prime minister were believed to be attending a cabinet meeting.
Embalo, 49, later told reporters that he had been unharmed during a five-hour gun battle, which he described as a plot to wipe out the government.
AFP journalists reported hearing sustained gunfire, and the president said several people were killed.
The small West African state has suffered four military coups since independence from Portugal in 1974.
On Wednesday, life was slowly returning to the streets of Bissau as shops and banks reopened, according to AFP correspondents.
Soldiers were patrolling the streets, however, and had also blocked access to the Palace of Government complex where the attack took place.
Journeyman Ndiaye, a 23-year-old Senegalese who sells clothes in Bissau’s largest market, said he had returned to his stall on Wednesday morning but that customers were scarce.
Noelho Barboza, a carpenter, said that Tuesday’s events risked throwing the country into reverse.
“We will no longer have the confidence of investors,” the 27-year-old said.
– ‘Kill the president’ – Guinea-Bissau, an impoverished coastal state of around two million people lying south of Senegal, saw its most recent military coup in 2012.
In 2014, the country vowed to return to democracy, but it has enjoyed little stability since and the armed forces wield substantial clout.
At a news conference on Tuesday, President Embalo said that assailants had tried to “kill the president of the republic and the entire cabinet.”
“The attackers could have spoken to me before these bloody events that have seriously injured many and claimed lives,” he added, appearing calm.
The exact death toll from the attack and the identity and motives of the assailants remains unclear.
But Embalo said the attack was linked to decisions he had taken “to fight drug trafficking and corruption”.
Guinea-Bissau suffers from endemic corruption and is known as a hub for cocaine trafficking between Latin America and Europe.
– Wave of coups – Both the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), of which Guinea-Bissau is a member, on Tuesday, condemned what they termed an “attempted coup.”
They were joined on Wednesday by France, which lashed “the coup attempt” in Bissau and voiced “respect for the constitutional order and… support for the democratic institutions.”
The events sparked fear that the country would join the ranks of other West African governments that have fallen to military coups recently.
In Mali, the army seized power in 2020. Guinea’s military followed suit in September last year, ousting elected president Alpha Conde.
Then on January 24, Burkina Faso’s army also announced it had deposed President Roch Marc Christian Kabore and taken control of the country.
Guinea-Bissau appeared calm on Wednesday after the unstable West African country was shaken by an attempted coup attempt the previous day, AFP journalists said.
On Tuesday afternoon, heavily armed men surrounded government buildings in the capital Bissau, where President Umaro Sissoco Embalo and his prime minister were believed to have been attending a cabinet meeting.
Sissoco, 49, later told reporters that he had been unharmed during a five-hour gun battle which he described as an assassination plot. Several people were killed in the attack, the president said.
Sustained gunfire was heard on Tuesday near the seat of government in the coup-prone West African state of Guinea-Bissau, AFP reporters said, as a regional bloc condemned what it called an “attempted coup”.
Heavily-armed men surrounded the Palace of Government, where President Umaro Sissoco Embalo and Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam were believed to have gone to attend a cabinet meeting.
The building is located on the edge of the capital Bissau, close to the airport.
People were seen fleeing the area, the local markets were closed and banks shut their doors, while military vehicles laden with troops drove through the streets.
The former Portuguese colony is an impoverished coastal state of around two million people lying south of Senegal.
It has seen four military putsches since gaining independence in 1974, most recently in 2012.
In 2014, the country vowed to return to constitutional government, but it has enjoyed little stability since then and the armed forces wield substantial clout.
A 36-year-old Frenchwoman living in Bissau, Kadeejah Diop, said she had rushed to pick up her two children from school and witnessed armed troops entering the Palace of Government.
“They made all the female workers leave. There was huge panic,” she told AFP by phone from her home. “Right now, we are holed up indoors. We have no news.”
Reacting to events, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) issued a statement saying it “condemns this attempted coup” and urged soldiers to “return to their barracks”.
The bloc warned that it “holds the military responsible for the wellbeing of President Umaro Sissoco Embalo and members of his government.”
The United Nations said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “deeply concerned with the news of heavy fighting in Bissau.”
He called for “an immediate end to the fighting and for full respect of the country’s democratic institutions,” the UN’s statement said.
Embalo, a 49-year-old reserve brigadier general and former prime minister, took office in February 2020 after winning a second-round runoff election that followed four years of political infighting under the country’s semi-presidential system.
He was a candidate for a party called Madem, comprised of rebels from the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) which had led Guinea-Bissau to independence.
His chief opponent, PAIGC candidate Domingos Simoes Pereira, bitterly contested the result but Embalo declared himself president without waiting for the outcome of his petition to the Supreme Court.
Late last year, the armed forces’ chief said members of the military had been preparing to launch a coup while the president was on a working trip to Brazil.
Troops had been offering bribes to other soldiers “in order to subvert the established constitutional order”, armed forces head General Biague Na Ntam said on October 14.
The government spokesman denied his account the following day.
In addition to volatility, Guinea-Bissau struggles with a reputation for corruption and drug smuggling.
Its porous coastline and cultural ties have made it an important stop on the Africa trafficking route. In 2019, nearly two tonnes of cocaine were seized.
Three countries in West Africa — Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso — have experienced military takeovers in less than 18 months.
The region’s mounting instability is due to be discussed on Thursday at an ECOWAS summit in Accra, Ghana.
Shortly after taking the lead, coach Augustine Eguavoen made his first change of the game and substituted Sadiq and Chidera Ejuke with Peter Olayinka and Moses Simon respectively.
Barely 20 minutes later, Simon dribbled his way into the 18-yard box of the Djurtus before aiming for another goal for the Nigerian side.
Although the ball hit the bar, captain William Troost-Ekong proved the ability to lead the team by coming to the Eagles’ rescue. But Nigeria were not sure if they had extended the lead until the Video Assistant Referee confirmed a second goal.
Again, Eguavoen substituted Tyronne Ebuehi for Olisa Ndah while Henry Onyekuru replaced Iheanacho with just 25 minutes left till the end of the match.
The three-time African champions went on to maintain the lead until the referee blew the final whistle.
As if he knew Nigeria would defeat Guinea-Bissau, President Muhammadu Buhari, shortly after the match ended, commended the Super Eagles for keeping hope alive by winning all their group matches and advancing to the second round of the tournament in grand style.
He, however, urged the team to maintain and even surpass the terrific form that made them leaders in the group stage, saying the people hopefully look forward to a total of seven emphatic wins in the competition.
“President Buhari trusts that the positive reputation of good sportsmanship the traveling fans, sportswriters, and the football team have demonstrated in Cameroon will continue to enliven the importance of sports, particularly football, as an enabler of development, peace, tolerance, friendship, and cooperation,” said a statement by the President’s media adviser, Femi Adesina.
He wished the Super Eagles the very best, pledging that his administration would continue to support the efforts of international, regional, and national football organisations to use the sport as a tool to build a better and more peaceful world.
When the Super Eagles take on Guinea-Bissau in a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) match on Wednesday, they will be aiming to make it three wins from three games.
A reshuffling of the three-time African champions coaching staff just weeks to the start of the competition had threatened to mar the country’s outing.
But the Austine Eguavoen-revitalised team have raked in six points from their first two matches after some commanding performances. The victories – first against record-holders, Egypt, and later on, Sudan – have earned the Eagles rave reviews with many tipping them for the trophy.
We face the Djurtus of Guinea-Bissau 🇬🇼 today, for the first time in the African Cup of Nations’ rich History.
While their eyes are on the title, the Nigerian side — who have booked a spot in the round of 16 – have one goal as they take on fellow West Africans in Garoua: and that is win and have a 100 percent record.
This is the first time Nigeria and Guinea-Bissau will be meeting at senior level and despite having a superior quality; Coach Eguavoen has warned his men not to be complacent.
According to him, the Super Eagles are not carried away by their impressive showing so far and will take each match as they come.
“We will continue to work. We respect our opponents and will continue on the same path. We must improve and take advantage of opportunities and score more goals,” he said in a pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
A win on Wednesday will also stretch the former defender’s record of being the only coach to have led Nigeria to win all group games at the AFCON. He achieved that feat in 2006 as the Eagles defeated Ghana 1-0, Zimbabwe 2-0, and Senegal 2-1.
Nigeria: Team News And Key Men
Although the same team started the last games, the match against Guinea-Bissau will be a perfect opportunity for some players to have a taste of the AFCON action.
“There will be changes in the squad, but we will not underestimate the match. All the players here are able to participate and represent Nigeria strongly,” the Nigerian coach added.
That means the likes of Chidera Ejuke, Alex Iwobi, and Kelechi Nwakali may start the game.
Defender Chidozie Awaziem may be in the running to start the match after he missed the two earlier ties. Captain Ahmed Musa could also be in the starting lineup just as Sodiq Umar might lead the line against the Wild Dogs.
Simon Moses, who has had an impressive tournament so far is also available for selection.
For Nigeria’s opponent, Wednesday’s clash is the only glimmer of hope for a round of 16 berth.
The Djurtus, ranked 106 globally and 24th in Africa, have been unlucky in their first two matches. They are bottom of Group D standing with one point having drawn and lost one match.
If they defeat the Super Eagles and make it to the next stage, that will be their first time qualifying for the knockout phase of the competition in their third appearance.
But Coach Baciro Cande knows this would not be an easy task for his men.
“The match will be difficult, but it is important to get three points if we are to continue competing,” the Guinea-Bissau coach told a pre-match press conference.
“We know Nigeria are a strong team, but we are well prepared, and we will play to win.”
Guinea-Bissau Key Men
While they have never won a game at the continent’s premier soccer competition, in Jorginho, the country’s top scorer during the qualification race with two goals, Guinea-Bissau will look to stun the three-time AFCON title-holders. Jonas Mendes is also back after recovering from COVID-19. Maurice Gomis, and Joseph Mendes, are, however still in isolation.
Guinea-Bissau Vs Nigeria: Head To Head
At the senior level, Nigeria and Guinea-Bissau have never met. The Super Eagles come into the game in a rich vein of form after winning four of their last five matches. Their opponents, on the other hand, have not registered a victory in five ties. They have drawn three and won two games.
Time For Guinea-Bissau Vs Nigeria AFCON Match
Nigeria’s Super Eagles take on Guinea-Bissau at the Roumde Adjia Stadium, Garoua, at 8:00 pm (WAT) time.
The Super Eagles squad has been strengthened ahead of their final Group D match at the Africa Cup of Nations with the return of versatile defender Chidozie Awaziem to full fitness.
Awaziem, who can play in central defence, is likely to get a taste of AFCON action when the three-time champions clash against the Wild Dogs of Guinea-Bissau at the Stade Roumdé Adjia in Garoua on Wednesday night.
The Alanyaspor FC of Turkey player did not play any part in the team’s two previous games against Egypt and Sudan and is keen to have a taste of the action in his second Africa Cup of Nations outing. He was a member of the 2019 bronze-winning squad in Egypt.
Nigeria top Group D with six points and are insurmountable going into the last round of matches, with three-pointer Egypt, who are second on the log and also with the arithmetic possibility of ending up with 6 points, having lost to the Eagles in their first match and therefore inferior to Nigeria on the head-to-take rule that takes premium in team ranking here.
Head Coach Augustine Eguavoen reiterated that his team will take nothing for granted as they go all out for the three points, even as some fresh legs may see action on Wednesday night.
“There is no room for complacency. We want to remain at the high level that we have found ourselves and that means putting in the solid shift that will continue to guarantee victory in our matches,” he said.
In the second match of Group D, Egypt’s Pharaohs will contend with Sudan’s Falcons of Jediane. The Sudanese have only one point and would be able to proceed if they snatch all three points from the seven-time champions.
The match between Nigeria and Guinea-Bissau will kick off on Wednesday by 8 pm Nigerian time.
Mohamed Salah got back among the goals for Egypt on Saturday as his second-half strike handed the record seven-time African champions a crucial 1-0 win over Guinea-Bissau in Garoua that was not without controversy.
Salah’s first-time finish at the back post in the 69th minute got his and his team’s campaign in Cameroon up and running after they had lost 1-0 to Nigeria in their opening Group D game.
However, Guinea-Bissau were left fuming after a stunning 82nd-minute strike by Mama Balde was ruled out following a VAR review.
Egypt, who also hit the woodwork three times, will feel they deserved the victory on the balance of play and Carlos Queiroz’s team now need only draw their last group game against neighbours Sudan in Yaounde on Wednesday to guarantee safe passage to the last 16.
“It was a really tough game and we were a little bit lucky with the foul,” Salah admitted to broadcasters at the end of the match.
“We have to win our next game now to make sure we qualify and we will do our best to go as far as we can in the tournament.”
Salah, who had not scored in any of his previous six appearances for Egypt this season, struck the post with just 84 seconds played.
The Liverpool star was then involved at the start of the 18th-minute move that ended with Omar Marmoush cushioning the ball down for Mostafa Mohamed to send another shot off the upright.
Salah finally broke the deadlock midway through the second half when he met Amr El Solia’s floated ball to the back post with a first-time cushioned volley that Guinea-Bissau goalkeeper Jonas Mendes may feel he should have saved.
Balde thought he had equalised with a superb goal when he collected possession on the left wing, cut inside and unleashed a tremendous effort from just inside the box into the far corner.
However the referee ruled out the goal after reviewing the images, judging that Balde had grappled Egypt right-back Omar Kamal to the ground.
It was a let-off for the Pharaohs, who also survived in injury time when the lively Moreto Cassama’s piledriver was saved by Mohamed El Shenawy.
The small west African nation of Guinea-Bissau are appearing at their third straight AFCON having never qualified before 2017, but they are left still searching for their first win at the tournament after eight attempts.
The United States on Thursday offered a $5 million reward for the arrest of Guinea-Bissau’s former coup leader Antonio Indjai who is wanted for alleged drug trafficking on behalf of Colombia’s FARC rebels.
Indjai, then army chief of staff, staged a coup in 2012 between rounds of presidential elections in the long unstable West African nation.
US prosecutors filed charges against Indjai in 2013, saying he had agreed to store tons of cocaine for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, with the money used to buy weapons for the rebels and also to pay off officials in Guinea-Bissau.
“Indjai was seen as one of the most powerful destabilizing figures in Guinea-Bissau, operating freely throughout West Africa, using illegal proceeds to corrupt and destabilize other foreign governments and undermine the rule of law throughout the region,” a State Department statement said.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday promised that Nigeria will support Guinea-Bissau in any way possible, saying “a peaceful and prosperous Guinea-Bissau is a win for West Africa and for Africa.”
In a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, President Buhari joined other Heads of State and Government of Senegal, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso to celebrate the country’s 47th independence anniversary.
“I feel delighted because this is my first official visit to Guinea Bissau since my assumption of office in 2015 and because I am here to join you, brotherly people of Guinea Bissau, as you celebrate this great day with renewed hope and aspiration.
“I am truly grateful for the warm reception accorded me and my delegation, since our arrival in this city.
“As you mark your freedom as a nation “free forever’, let me seize this opportunity to salute all Bissau Guineans both at home as well as in the Diaspora, for the strides you have made as a country.Permit me to say Parabens!Congratulations!” Buhari was quoted as saying.
The President said he was proud of the support Nigeria provided to the West African country in the previous elections, adding that helped to entrench democracy.
According to him, Nigeria’s deployment of troops under the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau played an important role in maintaining peace and security.
While congratulating President Umaro Sissocco Embalo, the government and people of Guinea Bissau on the country’s independence anniversary, Buhari prayed for continued growth and prosperity.
He also expressed good wishes for greater achievements in the years ahead for the West African country.
President Buhari recalled that when Guinea Bissau declared its independence from Portugal on September 10, 1974, it brought the Portuguese colonization to an end after a protracted struggle for freedom.
“It is fitting on this august occasion to remember your forebears and to celebrate them for the sacrifices they made for you to be free.
“The highest tribute we can pay them is to build on the gains of independence.It is my sincere prayer that your country will continue on the path of national cohesion, growth and unity,” he said.
Buhari thanked President Embalo for being a good host to Nigerians resident in the country, saying “colonial boundaries will never break the bond of kinship that binds us.”