Amid international condemnation over the killing of President “Nino” Vieira, Guinea-Bissau’s army has pledged to respect “constitutional order.”
The head of state was shot dead by rebel soldiers, apparently in revenge for the slaying of the country’s army chief, hours earlier. The pair had been locked in a power struggle. In a show of unity, members of the military met ministers and urged the population to remain calm. “We have had a cabinet meeting with army leaders to explain what happened,” the West African country’s prime minister Carlos Gomes Junior explained. “We have had a frank dialogue and the patriotism they showed is going to help us get through this crisis.” Drug money has worsened instability in Guinea-Bissau since it gained independence from Portugal in 1974. Meeting in Lisbon, the Community of Portuguese- speaking Countries decided to send an emergency delegation to the impoverished state. “Firstly, it is important to emphasize respecting the constitution,” Portugal’s deputy foreign minister Joao Cravinho declared. “Then identify the way in which the international community can help stabilise the situation in Guinea- Bissau.” Under the country’s constitution, the speaker of parliament has now taken office. He is tasked with organising a presidential election within the next 60 days.