Angola to help G Bissau reform army

2010-09-09 21:01

Luanda - Angola's army said on Thursday it will send a team to help reform the military of Guinea Bissau, a country with a long history of coups and instability.

"We need to carry out a study of the infrastructure in the barracks to know what kind of investments can be made in terms of reform," Angola's top military official, Francisco Pereira Furtado, said in a statement printed in state newspaper Jornal de Angola.

The statement came at the end of a visit to Luanda by Guinea Bissau's army chief of staff, Antonio Indjai, who met with military leaders and Angolan Defence Minister Candido Pereira Van-Dunem.

Angola's commitment came ahead of an emergency meeting of west African leaders next week to discuss the ongoing crisis in Guinea Bissau.

The small west African country has asked regional bloc the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) for 600 troops to help restore stability.

Guinea Bissau has been blighted by coups since independence from Portugal in 1974. The unrest has eroded the country's legal institutions and made it an attractive transit point for drugs moving from Latin America to Europe.

In March 2009, president Joao Bernardo Vieira was assassinated by troops, apparently in revenge for the killing hours earlier of the armed forces chief.

Guinea Bissau's top army brass last month backed President Malam Bacai Sanha's plan to allow a mission of 600 foreign troops to help stabilise the country.

Angola, another former Portuguese colony whose 27-year civil war ended in 2002, has one of the strongest militaries in Africa.