Ansumane Mané

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Ansumane Mané
Chairman of the Supreme Command of the Military Junta
In office
7 May 1999 – 14 May 1999
Preceded byNino Vieira (as President)
Succeeded byMalam Bacai Sanhá (as acting President)
Personal details
Borncirca 1940
Died30 November 2000
(aged 59–60)
Biombo Region, Guinea-Bissau
Political partyNone (military)
Military service
Allegiance Guinea-Bissau

Ansumane Mané (c. 1940 – 30 November 2000) was a Bissau-Guinean soldier who led a 1998 uprising against the government of President João Bernardo Vieira, which caused a brief, but bloody civil war.

Military background[edit]

Mané fought in the war of independence from Portugal alongside Vieira, and he backed Nino Vieira when they later seized power in a 1980 coup. In early 1998, he was suspended as Chief of Staff of the armed forces for allegedly smuggling arms to Casamance separatist rebels in Senegal.[1] In a letter published in early April 1998, he in turn made the same accusation against the Minister of Defense, Samba Lamine Mané, and other officers; he also alleged that Vieira had permitted the arms smuggling and claimed that he was suspended as Chief of Staff in connection with "shady plan to mount a coup d'état".[2]

Mané was subsequently dismissed by Vieira and replaced by General Humberto Gomes on 6 June 1998. He led a military rebellion against Vieira on the following day,[3] resulting in the civil war. A peace agreement in November 1998[4] provided for a transitional national unity government and new elections.

After Vieira was deposed on 7 May 1999 in a renewed outbreak of fighting,[1][4][5] Mané became temporary head of state (official title: Chairman of the Supreme Command of the Military Junta) until 14 May when Malam Bacai Sanhá, the President of the National People's Assembly, was installed as acting President.

Political growth[edit]

The military junta headed by Mané remained in place during the transitional period leading to new elections; Mané cast himself as a guardian of democracy. A parliamentary election, along with the first round of a presidential election, was held on 28 November 1999. Two weeks prior to this, Mané's junta proposed an arrangement giving it power over the government for ten years, which would enable it to dissolve the government in case of a severe political crisis; however, political parties objected to this and the proposal was dropped. Although the junta backed the presidential candidacy of Malam Bacai Sanhá of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) in the second round of the election, held in January 2000, Kumba Ialá of the Party for Social Renewal (PRS) was victorious. Prior to the election, Ialá had already said that it would not be acceptable for the junta to remain in any capacity.[1]


Although the junta was dissolved following Ialá's victory, Mané remained powerful, acting as an obstacle to Ialá's authority. At one point he refused to allow Ialá to go to Senegal on a state visit; he also accompanied Ialá on a visit to Nigeria.[1] In November 2000, Ialá promoted a number of senior military officers; Mané objected to the promotions and declared himself head of the armed forces. He revoked Ialá's promotions, placed military chief of staff Verísssimo Correia Seabra and deputy chief of staff Emílio Costa under house arrest, and appointed General Buota Nan Batcha as the new chief of staff. When issuing a communique claiming that the situation was calm, he signed it as the head of the junta, which had previously been dissolved when Ialá was elected president. Fighting broke out on 23 November between forces loyal to Mané and those loyal to Seabra.[6] The government subsequently said that Mané fled to Quinhamel in Biombo Region, in the west of the country.


General Mané was assassinated by forces loyal to the then president Kumba Ialá and General Batista Tagme Na Waie in Biombo Region a week later, on 30 November 2000, along with two others. General Mané did not put up a fight against the Balanta tribe troops. Although state television broadcast images of three bodies, these were deemed unrecognizable by the international media.[7] The opposition PAIGC said that Mané was correct to oppose the promotions.[8]

Among Mané's most prominent allies was Naval Chief of Staff Mohamed Lamine Sanha who was also assassinated a few years later.


  1. ^ a b c d Andrea E. Ostheimer, "The Structural Crisis in Guinea-Bissau's Political System" Archived 2009-08-03 at the Wayback Machine, African Security Review, Vol. 10, No. 4, 2001.
  2. ^ "GUINEA-BISSAU: Minister accused of arming Senegalese rebels", IRIN-West Africa Daily Update 181, 6 April 1998.
  3. ^ "GUINEA BISSAU: Fighting in capital continues", IRIN-West Africa Update 224, 8 June 1998.
  4. ^ a b "GUINEA-BISSAU: Loyalist troops capitulate" Archived 2008-03-19 at the Wayback Machine, IRIN, May 7, 1999.
  5. ^ "Guinea-Bissau palace ablaze", BBC News, May 7, 1999.
  6. ^ "GUINEA-BISSAU: Focus on new source of instability", IRIN, 23 November 2000.
  7. ^ "GUINEA-BISSAU: Former military strongman shot dead, reports say", IRIN, 1 December 2000.
  8. ^ "Guinea-Bissau: Opposition PAIGC says Gen Mane was right on promotions", PANA (, 4 December 2000.