Guinea-Bissau: Indjai exonerated and Nan Tan takes over

GBissau

GBissau

This week has been rich in surprising but nonetheless good news.

First, the Guinea-Bissau army chief of staff behind the 2012 coup and other equally damaging developments in the country, Antonio Indjai, was exonerated by a Presidential decree. Yesterday, Biaguê Nan Tan, a discreet member of Guinea-Bissau’s armed forces, and also a ethnic Balanta like his predecessor, was appointed to the position.

Said to be close to the recently elected President of Guinea-Bissau, José Mário Vaz, Nan Tan was a United Nations military observer in Angola, in 1995, and took part in joint operations with 12 regional countries plus France, Russia and England. He is always a former deputy-chief of the army.

During the take-over ceremony, Nan Tan  affirmed that under his command the Armed Forces will respect the Constitution and be subordinated to the democratically elected political establishment.  Nan Tan also affirmed that one of the main aims of his mandate will be to organize the Armed Forces and prepare the youths that in the future will take up the task to run the country’s military establishment.

These are indeed good news. However, one must wonder what will happen with the military nomenclature that, alongside Indjai, took part in the Guinea-Bissau’s troubling recent history. Will they remain in their positions as not to initiate a potentially dangerous revolution in the Armed Forces? Probably.

Nonetheless, it is obvious that these individuals deserve at least the same treatment as Mr. Indjai, if not something worse such as legal prosecution. But for this to happen it is first necessary that the main culprit, Indjai, is taken to justice and face the consequences for his actions. This might turn out to be hard to implement: during the ceremony President José Mário Vaz said words of appreciation directed to Antonio Indjai, which may mean that the newly democratically elected political power may be willing to temper any possible source of tensions, worried about the potential consequences of legal actions being taken against the former head of the army and his circle.

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