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EU to Review Aid to Guinea-Bissau


The European Union says it will reassess aid to Guinea-Bissau following the appointment of a new army chief who led a recent mutiny in the West African nation.

In announcing the review, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton expressed "dismay" at the appointment of Major General Antonio Indjai.

President Malam Bacai Sanha appointed Indjai a week ago, despite protests from international donors.

Ashton also said she has "serious concern" at the detention of previous military chief Vice Admiral Jose Zamora Induta, and called on authorities to "bring an end to it."

She said the situation calls for the EU to review its "overall engagement" in Guinea-Bissau.

The EU has allocated about $156 million to Guinea-Bissau over a five-year period that began in 2008.

The money is to be used for conflict prevention, water and energy projects, and general budget support.

On April 1, General Indjai ordered soldiers to arrest Induta and Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior, who he later threatened to kill. The prime minister was eventually released.

The United States has also criticized Indjai's appointment, saying it is concerned about the rule of law in Guinea-Bissau. The U.S. also said it is alarmed by indications that senior members of the army are involved in drug trafficking.

In April, the U.S. designated the country's air force chief and former navy chief as drug kingpins and imposed sanctions on them.

Guinea-Bissau has suffered decades of coups and unrest since winning independence from Portugal in 1974. In March of 2009, mutinous soldiers assassinated President Joao Bernardo Vieira. The murder apparently was to avenge the killing the army chief of staff hours earlier.

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