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Guinea-Bissau junta gives 58 travel ban

2012-05-15 17:55

Bissau - Guinea-Bissau's military rulers have banned 58 key figures - mostly from the ousted government - from leaving the country, according to a document seen by AFP on Tuesday.

"All these people are forbidden to leave the national territory until the conditions of their security are met," said the document issued by the junta, without elaborating.

Among those targeted are former interim prime minister Adiato Djalo Nandigna, ex-government spokesperson Fernando Gomes, and former interior minister and elections commission head Desejado Lima Da Costa.

They are all currently taking refuge in foreign embassies in Bissau.

The vice-president of the ousted African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape-Verde (PAIGC), the former director of the judicial police and several members of ex-prime minister Carlos Gomes's cabinet are also on the blacklist.

The PAIGC said in a statement the move was "not conducive to facilitating national reconciliation. Many of our leaders are being pursued by the army or have been threatened with death."

A group of soldiers ousted the government of interim president Raimundo Pereira on April 12, aborting an election process in which Carlos Gomes was the favourite to win.

Both men were held by the junta for two weeks before being released and have taken refuge in Abidjan.

The soldiers said they launched their coup in the chronically unstable nation over the presence of Angolan troops which they said was undermining the army.

After laborious negotiations the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) and junta agreed to appoint former speaker Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo to lead an interim government, ruling out the return of the ousted leaders.

Nhamadjo is expected to appoint his prime minister on Tuesday who will form a transition government and lead the country to elections in the next 12 months.

Nigerian troops are expected to arrive in Guinea-Bissau by Friday to replace the Angolan contingent. Its presence upset the army, whose long power struggle with the state has led to countless coups, counter-coups and political assassinations.