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Africa Union Calls for Inquiry into Guinea Bissau Assassinations


The Africa Union (AU) has called for an independent investigation into the recent political assassinations in Guinea Bissau. The AU also urged the country's military government to refrain from interfering in politics and to ensure that contestants in the upcoming presidential election are protected.

The appeal comes in the wake of last week's death of presidential candidate Baciro Dabo and former defense minister Helder Proenca. They were shot and killed last week by soldiers sent to arrest them for allegedly plotting a coup.

Political science professor Kabiru Mato of the University of Abuja commends the AU for its handling of the political situation in Guinea Bissau.

"I think the response from the (Peace and) Security Council is very timely and it is simply perhaps a beginning of a concerted action that is perhaps the African Union is likely going to engage and addressing the hotspots of controversies in Africa," Mato says.

Mato says the continental body faces a daunting task in addressing challenges of military instability across Africa.

"I think the issue in Africa is that it requires more of a concerted military attention or military effort in order to be able to attend to some of these very critical hotspots of controversy," he says.

Mato says the military government should not be permitted to investigate the recent political assassinations.

"The Africa Union should not allow the junta that is seen as responsible for these high profile political assassinations to really order a probe. At the end of the day we may not see a likely positive thing coming out of the probe; it might simply be a stage management," Mato says.

He is of the opinion that an investigation conducted by an outside independent body could unravel the rationale behind the recent political killings.

"The continental body should either advise the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to institute a sub-regional perhaps probe so as to look at the problem with the view to really understanding the genesis and the truth," he says.

Meanwhile, Guinterim President Raimundo Pereira says despite the political assassinations Guinea Bissau's presidential elections scheduled for July 28 remain on course.

The Africa Union has demanded the election be conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner.


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