Guinea-Bissau president bolsters his personal security

Guinea-Bissau’s President Umaro Sissoco Embalo has assigned two new officials to enhance his security, with their responsibilities commencing on Monday.

The head of state made reference to coup d’états occurring elsewhere in Africa as the reason for this announcement.

These security appointments were made shortly following coups in Niger and Gabon, both executed by government security officials.

On Friday, General Tomas Djassi was designated as the head of presidential security, and General Horta Inta was named as the president’s chief of staff.

These two roles have been part of the government’s organizational structure for many years, but they have remained vacant for several decades.

Djassi and Inta were sworn in Monday during a ceremony at the presidential palace, according to an local media.

Guinea-Bissau has endured four military coups since gaining independence in 1974, with the most recent occurring in 2012.

An attempt to overthrow Embalo took place in February 2022.

“It’s true that coups d’état carried out by presidential security officers have become fashionable,” the president told reporters on Monday, while assuring that “any suspicious movement will be met with an appropriate response”.

Prior to his recent appointment, Djassi served as the head of the national guard, an elite army unit whose involvement played a crucial role in thwarting the coup attempt in 2022.

Inta was head of the central police station in Bissau.

In the previous month, President Embalo cautioned that Niger’s coup posed an existential risk to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). He asserted that the ousted Nigerien president, Mohamed Bazoum, remained the only legitimate leader of the country.

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