Bernardo "Nino" Vieira in March)
Head of government Carlos Gomes Júnior
Death penalty abolitionist for all crimes
Population 1.6 million
Life expectancy 47.5 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 207/186 per 1,000
Adult literacy 64.6 per cent
The killing of political and military figures, including President João Bernardo "Nino" Vieira in March, exacerbated the already fragile political situation. Elections in June restored some level of stability. The armed forces interfered with the governance of the country and the judiciary. They also committed serious human rights violations, including unlawful killings, torture and other illtreatment, arbitrary arrests and detentions, with impunity. Human rights defenders and others received death threats.
The delay in appointing a new government following elections in November 2008 increased political tension. Drug trafficking was reportedly at the root of political instability and killings, and the tension between civilian and military authorities. A new government was finally appointed in January.
In January, presidential guards known as "Aguentas", a force created by the late President João Bernardo "Nino" Vieira during the 1998-99 civil war, allegedly tried to kill the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, General Tagme na Waie, apparently because he had ordered their disbandment. In March, General Tagme na Waie was killed by a bomb. Soldiers accused President Vieira of ordering the killing and hours later killed him. The President of the National Assembly took over as Interim President pending a presidential election. Neither killing was properly investigated.
Prior to the presidential election in June, soldiers killed politicians close to the late President Vieira, including an election candidate. They also arbitrarily arrested and beat some parliamentarians and former ministers. Several other politicians fled the country or went into hiding.
The June election was held in an atmosphere of fear and censorship. Malam Bacai Sanhá, candidate for the ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), won the election after a second round in July. He took office in September.
In August, Guinea-Bissau acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and in September signed the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
In March and June, soldiers unlawfully killed political and military figures with impunity. Despite promises by the new President, no investigations were carried out into any of the killings.