It is one of the world’s poorest countries and a crossroads for the cocaine trade. Today Guinea Bissau elects a president to replace the one assassinated in March.
Many believe Joao Bernardo Vieira was killed in revenge for the murder of the head of the army in a bomb blast a few hours earlier.
Earlier this month, a presidential candidate and a former defence minister were also shot dead.
Amid such tensions, 150 international observers are on the ground for this election, which has had to be paid for by the international community.
The small former Portuguese colony has a population of around 1.7 million people and life expectancy reaches no higher than the late 40s.
Only two countries are below it on the UN’s development index.
Among the new president’s most pressing challenges will be restoring some sense of law and order; as yet no person has been held responsible for any of the recent, politically motivated murders.