Military of Guinea-Bissau

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Revolutionary Armed Forces of the People
Forças Armadas Revolucionárias do Povo
Military flag of Guinea-Bissau.svg
Flag of the Armed Forces
Founded1964 (as the military branch of PAIGC)
Current form1973 (as the national armed forces of Guinea-Bissau)
Service branchesArmy
Air Force
PresidentUmaro Sissoco Embaló
Prime MinisterNuno Gomes Nabiam
Minister of DefenceSandji Fati
Chief of General StaffGeneral Biague Na Ntan
ConscriptionSelective compulsory military service
Active personnel4,000[citation needed]
Budget$9.46 million[when?]
Percent of GDP3.1%
Foreign suppliers China
Related articles
HistoryGuinea-Bissau War of Independence
Guinea-Bissau Civil War
2010 Guinea-Bissau military unrest
2012 Guinea Bissau coup d'état
RanksMilitary ranks of Guinea-Bissau
Soldiers of the PAIGC raise the flag of Guinea-Bissau in 1974.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of the People (Portuguese: Forças Armadas Revolucionárias do Povo) or FARP are the national military of Guinea-Bissau. They consist of an Army, Navy, Air Force and paramilitary forces. A 2008 United Nations Development Programme census estimated that there were around 4,000 personnel in the Armed Forces.[1] An earlier CIA World Fact Book figure was 9,250. The World Fact Book also estimated military expenditure as $9.46 million, and military spending as a percentage of GDP as 3.1%.

The World Fact Book also reports that the military service age and obligation is 18–25 years of age for selective compulsory military service; 16 years of age or younger with parental consent, for voluntary service (2009).

Internal culture[edit]

2010 Guinea-Bissau military unrest[edit]

Major General Batista Tagme Na Waie was chief of staff of the Guinea-Bissau armed forces until his assassination in 2009.

Military unrest occurred in Guinea-Bissau on 1 April 2010. Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior was placed under house arrest by soldiers, who also detained Army Chief of Staff Zamora Induta. Supporters of Gomes and his party, PAIGC, reacted to the move by demonstrating in the capital, Bissau; Antonio Indjai, the Deputy Chief of Staff, then warned that he would have Gomes killed if the protests continued.[2]

The EU ended its mission to reform the country's security forces, EU SSR Guinea-Bissau, on 4 August 2010, a risk that may further embolden powerful generals and drug traffickers in the army and elsewhere. The EU mission's spokesman in Guinea-Bissau said the EU had to suspend its programme when the mastermind of the mutiny, General Antonio Indjai, became army chief of staff. "The EU mission thinks this is a breach in the constitutional order. We can't work with him".[3]

International drug trade[edit]

The multitude of small offshore islands and a military able to sidestep government with impunity has made it a favourite trans-shipment point for drugs to Europe. Aircraft drop payloads on or near the islands, and speedboats pick up bales to go direct to Europe or onshore.[4] UN chief Ban Ki-moon has called for sanctions against those involved in Guinea-Bissau's drugs trade.[5]

Air Force head Ibraima Papa Camara and former navy chief Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto have been named "drug kingpins".[6]

Angolan assistance[edit]

Angola, at the presidency of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) since 2010, has since 2011 participated in a military mission in Guinea-Bissau (MISSANG) to assist in the reform of defence and security.[7] MISSANG had a strength of 249 Angolan men (both soldiers and police officers), following an agreement signed between the defence ministers of both countries, as a complement to a Governmental accord ratified by both parliaments.[8]

The Angolan assistance mission included a programme of technical and military cooperation focused on a reform of the Guinean armed forces and police, including the repair of barracks and police stations, organisation of administrative services and technical and military training locally and in Angolan institutions. The mission was halted by the Angolan Government, following a politico-military crisis that led to the ousting of the interim president of Guinea- Bissau, Raimundo Pereira, and the prime minister, Gomes Júnior. By 22 June 2012, the Angolan vessel Rio M'bridge, carrying the mission's equipment, had arrived back in Luanda.

Army equipment[edit]

Name Origin In service Photo Notes
Recoilless rifles
Type 52  China [9] Recoilless-rifle-batey-haosef-1-1.jpg
B-10  Soviet Union [9] B-10-82mm-recoilless-rifle-batey-haosef-2-1.jpg
Main battle tanks
T-34  Soviet Union 10[9] Char T 34 noBG.jpg
Light tanks
PT-76  Soviet Union 15[9] Verkhnyaya Pyshma Tank Museum 2012 0181.jpg
Armored cars
BRDM-2  Soviet Union 10[9] Bulgaria BRDM-2 02.jpg
Armoured personnel carriers
BTR-40  Soviet Union 35[9] БТР-40 в Краснодаре.jpg
BTR-60  Soviet Union BTR-60PB in Museum of technique 2016-08-16.JPG
Type 56  China 20[9] Verkhnyaya Pyshma Tank Museum 2012 0182.jpg Acquired from China in 1984.[10]
Towed artillery
D-44  Soviet Union 8[9] 85-мм дивизионная пушка Д-44 pic1.JPG
D-30  Soviet Union 18[9] 122- мм гаубица Д-30 (1).jpg
M-30  Soviet Union M-30 howitzer Polish Army Museum.jpg
M-43  Soviet Union 8[10] 27th Independent Sevastopol Guards Motor Rifle Brigade (183-16).jpg
M1943  Soviet Union 8[9] 120 mm regimental mortar M1943.jpg
Man-portable air-defense systems
9K32 Strela-2  Soviet Union [9] SA-7.jpg
Towed anti-aircraft guns
ZU-23-2  Soviet Union 18[9] ZU-23-2 in Saint Petersburg.jpg
M1939  Soviet Union 6[9] 37mm Anti-Aircraft Gun M1939 20181020.jpg
S-60  Soviet Union 10[9] Zagan 57 mm armata plot S 60.jpg

Air Force[edit]

After achieving independence from Portugal, the air force was formed by officers returning from training in Cuba and the USSR. The FAGB was re-equipped by the Soviet Union with a limited aid package in which its first combat aircraft were introduced.


In September 2010, Rear-Admiral Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto attempted a coup, but was arrested after failing to gain support. "Guinea-Bissau's navy chief, who was arrested last week and accused of trying to stage a coup, has escaped custody and fled to nearby Gambia, the armed forces said on Tuesday."[11]


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-11-02. Retrieved 2017-06-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Assimo Balde, "Soldiers put Guinea-Bissau PM under house arrest", Associated Press, 1 April 2010.
  3. ^ EU pull-out hits Guinea-Bissau reforms BBC
  4. ^ Africa – new front in drugs war BBC
  5. ^ BBC, G Bissau drugs sanctions threat
  6. ^ British Broadcasting Corporation, US names two Guinea-Bissau military men 'drug kingpins'
  7. ^ MENAFN, MISSANG Trains Police Staff in Guinea-Bissau Archived 2013-05-17 at the Wayback Machine, July 25, 2011
  8. ^ "Military equipment used in Guinea-Bissau in Luanda". ANGOP. Archived from the original on 2013-05-17. Retrieved 2017-07-12.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n International Institute for Strategic Studies (2021). The Military Balance. p. 471. ISBN 9781032012278.
  10. ^ a b "Trade Registers".
  11. ^ Archived 2010-08-28 at the Wayback Machine... [1][dead link], Archived 2006-02-09 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved on 12 August 2008, via afdevinfo, 16 September 2010
  • The Two Faces of War
  • World Aircraft Information Files. Brightstar Publishing, London. File 338 Sheet 02
  • Cooper, Tom & Weinert, Peter (2010). African MiGs: Volume I: Angola to Ivory Coast. Harpia Publishing LLC. ISBN 978-0-9825539-5-4.

Further reading[edit]

  • B Embaló, Civil–military relations and political order in Guinea-Bissau, The Journal of Modern African Studies, 2012
  • Shaw, Mark, Drug trafficking in Guinea-Bissau, 1998-2014: the evolution of an elite protection network, The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 53.3 (Sep 2015): 339–364.

External links[edit]