First Group of West African Troops Arrives in Guinea-Bissau

Posted May 17th, 2012 at 1:40 pm (UTC-5)
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About 70 soldiers have arrived in Guinea-Bissau as part of a West African contingent sent to restore order after last month's coup.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says it will send about 600 troops in all to Guinea-Bissau over the coming days.

The first troops from Burkina Faso flew into the capital, Bissau, on Thursday. More are expected from Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.

The troops are coming with the assent of coup leaders, who reached agreement with ECOWAS last week to install parliamentary speaker Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo as leader of a transitional government.

The military grabbed power on April 12, when soldiers seized power and arrested interim President Raimundo Pereira and Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior. Both men later fled the country.

Before the coup, Gomes was the frontrunner in a presidential run-off election to replace late President Malam Bacai Sanha.

The new transitional government is expected to be installed next week, with ECOWAS's backing.

The regional bloc has indicated the transition will last about a year.

Guinea-Bissau has endured numerous coups and attempted coups in the past 30 years. It has also become a key transit point for international drug traffickers.