MULTI-FACETED MEDIATION IN THE GUINEA-BISSAU CIVIL WAR

  • Simon Massey Coventry University (UK)
Keywords: Brigadier Ansumane Mané, exchange of gunfire in Bissau city, soldiers loyal to President, Partido Africano da Independencia da Guiné-Bissau e Cabo Verde, irrevocable splits within the government, GUINEA-BISSAU CIVIL WAR

Abstract

An exchange of gunfire in Bissau city between soldiers loyal to President and mutinous troops supporting the recently dismissed army chief of staff Brigadier Ansumane Mané in the early morning of 7 June 1998 heralded the start of 11 months of civil conflict. ‘It was not a huge war’, the Economist noted, ‘but for the 1m people…of Guinea-Bissau, it was devastating…Hundreds of people were killed, the city was destroyed and hundreds of thousands fled into the countryside’. The primary reason for the fighting - irrevocable splits within the government and leading Partido Africano da Independencia da Guiné-Bissau e Cabo Verde (PAIGC) - sat amidst a web of geopolitical machinations and posturing.Guinea-Bissau became the locus for mediation based, for a large part, on political opportunism. These efforts resulted in a peace operation with ostensible humanitarian motives which, nonetheless, was also marked by strong political impulses. As William Zartman has remarked, ‘Africa does not lack mediators’. In the case of the war in Bissau the gamut of potential intermediaries – regional, African and extra-African – offered assistance. This confusion of good offices led to rival mediation efforts whose polarisation mirrored that on the battlefield.
Published
2012-02-03
How to Cite
Massey, S. (2012). MULTI-FACETED MEDIATION IN THE GUINEA-BISSAU CIVIL WAR. Scientia Militaria - South African Journal of Military Studies, 32(1). https://doi.org/10.5787/32-1-129
Section
Articles