The latest coup d'etat in Guinea-Bissau is being linked by Western diplomats to the international drug trade. Soldiers took control of much of the capital Bissau on April 13 as the military announced that it had arrested interim President Raimundo Pereira, as well as Carlos Gomes Jr., a former prime minister and leading presidential candidate. Press accounts cite speculation that Gomes ran afoul of the military by promising to end a lucrative arrangement with drug traffickers.
While the economy is officially based on cashew nuts, the country has become a key transshipment point for South American cocaine en route to Europe, with the army receiving big pay-offs. "The drugs are behind it all," said Jan Van Maanen, the honorary British consul in Guinea-Bissau. "It's a nice income for the army and they stand a chance of losing it all." (McClatchy Newspapers, AP, BBC News, April 13)