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Title:From the unbearable 'resilience' of coupism to ethnicisation: a short journey for the armed forces of Guinea-Bissau
Author:Dias, Eduardo CostaISNI
Periodical:Nordic Journal of African Studies (ISSN 1459-9465)
Geographic term:Guinea-Bissau
Subjects:armed forces
drug trafficking
External link:https://njas.fi/njas/article/view/164/154
Abstract:This paper considers the emergence of ethnic ruptures in the Guinea-Bissau armed forces. It takes as its starting point the fact that, despite efforts that date back to initiatives implemented by the political wing of the PAIGC (Partido Africano para a Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde, or African Party for Independence in Guinea and Cape Verde) during the war of independence, 'ethnic empathy' is rife in the military and, at key moments, overrides the comradeship that is supposed to form the basis of relations between military personnel. Not only do personal loyalties to military leaders frequently supersede the chain of command, many higher-ranked officials also frequently use the 'weight' of their ethnicity (and a corresponding network of relations inside different military units) as a bargaining chip, as well as a weapon and a shield. This is especially true in regards to the distribution of profits accrued from drug trafficking. The situation is all the more intriguing given that the cohesion of Guinea-Bissau's social fabric is generally speaking fairly good, despite its huge ethnic diversity. It is therefore important to ascertain the reason(s) why the situation should be so different within the realm of the armed forces. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]