Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau Once a colony of Portugal, incorporated into Portuguese Guinea, the independent republic of Guinea-Bissau was recognised in 1974. However, the road to independence had been conflict-ridden. As other colonial powers in Africa were conceding independence to their colonies in the 1960s, Portugal was reluctant to pursue similar policies. Thus the PAIGC (Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde, African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde), established in 1956 by Amilcar Cabral and Raphael Barbosa, initiated an armed independence struggle against the Portuguese colonial government in 1961. The struggle reached the level of a minor extra-state conflict in 1963 and continued without interruption until 1973. The Portuguese view on its colonies suddenly changed mid-1974 when a bloodless military coup deposed the dictatorship in Portugal and installed a government which withdrew from its colonies, including Guinea-Bissau.

Governance in the country's first two decades was autocratic with a single-party system until the 1990s when a democratisation process was initiated. The first multi-party elections were held in 1994 in which the leader who had dominated post-independence politics, President Joao Bernardo Vieira, remained in power. The subsequent three years saw mounting political tension, popular discontent and military disgruntlement. Hence, in 1998 General Ansumane Mané formed the popularly and militarily supported Military Junta for the Consolidation of Democracy, Peace and Justice (MJCDPJ) and began an armed struggle with the aim to overthrow the Vieira government. The intra-state conflict raged 1998-1999 and it ended with the ouster of President Vieira in May 1999. After a brief military rule, the junta under Mané relinquished power to an elected government.

Since 1946 Guinea-Bissau has experienced the extra-state and intra-state categories of UCDP organised violence.