Ex-Guinea-Bissau army chief indicted over alleged plot

Bissau — Guinea-Bissau’s state prosecutor has charged a former army chief with terrorism, homicide and trying to subvert the country’s constitutional order, one of his lawyers said on Thursday.

Rear-Admiral Jose Zamora Induta, who headed the army in 2009-2010, is suspected of involvement in an abortive plot to kill President Jose Mario Vaz amid a political crisis in August.

Induta is also accused of involvement in a 2012 coup attempt in which several people were killed. It was not immediately clear which incident was being addressed by the charges. “The group of lawyers tasked with his defence will meet together to prepare a defence strategy that will allow us to react,” said lawyer Jose Paulo Semedo, without giving further comment.

Vaz alienated many former allies when he dismissed his long-time rival, prime minister Domingos Simoes Pereira, and dissolved his government on August 12.

That ushered in an institutional crisis that led to the appointment of three prime ministers within a two-month period, although the current cabinet is seen as more likely to endure. The president has been instrumental in a reform programme to retire 5,000 military officers in the West African country’s bloated and notoriously meddlesome army.

Induta returned home from exile in Portugal in July for reasons that are not known. He was transferred to a military prison in the central town of Mansoa last month in connection with the alleged assassination plot.

Guinea-Bissau has suffered nine coups or attempted coups since 1980. It has become a major transit route for smuggling South American cocaine to Europe, allegedly with the involvement of senior military commanders. — AFP

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