Latest coup casts doubt over Angola’s investments in the country

Guinea-Bissau soldier

Military leaders and a group of mostly opposition political parties declared the formation of a Transitional National Council last Thursday, following the latest coup in Guinea-Bissau, according to intelligence experts.

Led by Army Chief of Staff Antonio Indjai, the coup appears to have been motivated by a “secret deal” allegedly agreed between Prime Minister Gomes Junior and Angola which permitted Angolan troops in the country to engage Guinea-Bissau’s military in order to bolster the Prime Minister’s position, claimed experts at Exclusive Analysis.

CNN reported that a spokesman for the army’s chief of staff, Daba Naualna, said on Thursday that interim President Raimundo Pereira and former Prime Minister Gomes Junior “are being detained for security reasons”.

He went on to say that “the (army chief of staff) thinks, for the sake of the country, that power cannot fall into the streets and decided to have (the military) play its part in seeking solutions with the political class to resolve this crisis.”

With a long list of infrastructure and exploration projects currently being undertaken in Guinea-Bissau, Angola has a keen interest in the power struggle currently being played out there.

Should no counter-coup be enacted, it is likely that power will be transferred to a military candidate of choice in the shape of either Kumba Yala or Serifo Balde Namhajo.

Experts at Exclusive Analysis believe that once a new government is in place it will most likely set about diminishing Angola’s economic footprint in the country, which includes Angola’s $500m project for the development of a bauxite mine in the Boe region and a deep-water port in Buba.

Other of Angola’s interests which may be under threat include Banco Privado Atlantico’s shareholding in Guinea-Bissau bank BAO and Sonangol’s shareholding in the Portuguese oil company Galp. However, Angola’s offshore oil exploration contracts, and gold and phosphate mining contracts, would have a lesser threat of cancellation since they are not directly tied to Gomes Junior’s administration.

Whilst Angola continues to have a military presence in Guinea-Bissau, it is likely that they will follow through on the commitment they made last week to unilaterally withdraw their troops from the country rather than risk becoming embroiled in civil war.

Angola appears to have realized that they can no longer sideline the army leadership, and are happy to hold on to their remaining economic interests rather than risk all to keep Gomes Junior in power.