Guinea-Bissau junta vows to cede power

2012-05-23 18:25
Dakar/Bissau - Guinea-Bissau's military junta has vowed to hand over power to the country's transitional government, according to local media reports on Wednesday.

Reports said military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Daha Bana Na Walna made the announcement late on Tuesday, shortly before interim President Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo released details of his new cabinet.

Guinea-Bissau's transitional government, established with the backing of the Economic Community of West African States, is expected to remain in power until elections can be organized.

A second round presidential vote scheduled for the end of April was derailed by a 12 April coup, which ousted the ruling PAIGC party. Its members have since spoken out against the formation of a transitional body.

Commentators in the tiny West African country have voiced scepticism about the military's vow to completely cede power.

Tensions have been high between the armed forces and civilian leaders since independence from Portugal in 1974, exacerbated by the presence of soldiers who remain in the army despite being over the age of 80.

A security sector reform program instigated by the United Nations is underway, in an attempt to provide pensions for soldiers of retirement age and reform the military structure.

Security sector reform is expected to be aided by the presence of about 650 regional peacekeeping troops, who began arriving in Guinea-Bissau last week in an attempt to stabilise the country.

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