In a move that has likely received mixed feelings from the international community, Guinea-Bissau’s army chief of staff Biaguê Nan Tam said he would eliminate any soldier who attempts to disrupt constitutional order.
“I have zero tolerance for military intervention in Guinea-Bissau. We will never again be part of the problem. There won’t be any other coup d’etat as long as I am part of the Armed Forces. Any soldier who attempts to do so will have no room in prison, only in the cemeteries.”
These declarations represent a dramatic shift from the traditional course of events in the tiny West African Country, in which the army has regularly intervened in Guinea-Bissau’s political scene.
According to Biaguê Nan Tam, there are individuals who, instead of investing their money in the cashew industry – main source of revenue and sustenance in the country -, keep trying to drive soldiers to create confusion in the country. That, he added, is something the Armed Forces’ high command will not tolerate.
The succession of coup d’etats that the country experienced since independence “brought nothing to the country but disgrace and suffering to its people,” he said.
Nam Tam’s whistle-blowing and tough stance is highly welcomed here.
Nevertheless, mix feelings arise when considering what he said next:
Biaguê Nan Tam called on the international community to lift sanctions imposed on several military officials, arguing that many of them are in need of medical treatment abroad.
In addition, it is worth noting that these declarations were made during a military ceremony, in which officials and soldiers paid their traditional respects to the country’s army chief.
Interestingly, one of the ceremony’s highlights was the presence of António Indjai, former army chief and leader of the 2012 coup, who is under sanctions from the international community and was indicted by US authorities due to his alleged links with narco-traffic.
What to make of Biaguê Nan Tam’s declarations?