Coup: Guinea-Bissau president beefs up personal security

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Guinea-Bissau’s President Umaro Sissoco Embalo has appointed two new officials to protect his security, who took up their duties on Monday with the head of state alluding to coups d’etat elsewhere in Africa.

The security appointments were made shortly after coups in Niger and Gabon, both carried out by the security officials of the government.

General Tomas Djassi was named as head of presidential security, while General Horta Inta was appointed as chief of staff for the president on Friday.

These two positions have long existed in the government’s organisational structure but have not been filled for several decades.

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

Guinea-Bissau has suffered four military coups since independence in 1974, most recently 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”.

Before his new appointment, Djassi was the head of the National Guard, an elite unit of the army whose intervention helped stall the 2022 coup attempt.

Inta was head of the central police station in Bissau.

Last month, Embalo warned that Niger’s coup presented an existential threat to the Economic Community of West African States, saying the deposed Nigerien president Mohamed Bazoum was that country’s only legitimate leader.