Guinea-Bissau

  1. The rapper who toured villages for inspiration

    DJ Edu

    This Is Africa

    As One 1820

    As One 1820 is an artist who has gone out of his way – quite literally – in the search for inspiration.

    “Every one of my songs reflects my own life and is a mirror of how my society lives,” he tells This Is Africa.

    But the singer and rapper, who grew up in a rural village as a member of Guinea-Bissau’s Fula ethnic group, is not just shining a light on modern metropolitan life.

    “People have embraced my music because I also include the different dialects we have. It gives it a different dynamic that is appreciated within the different cultural groups that exist in Bissau.”

    Although there is great variety of language, culture and tradition, Guinea-Bissau’s relatively small size has also helped As One 1820.

    After spending time in Portugal, in 2015 he returned home and went on a tour, while also visiting remote villages to listen and learn.

    “I didn’t go with any security or entourage. I went on my own because I felt a need to find out how the local population lived and to discover what music they were into.

    “The tour allowed me to discover other styles which enrich my music today in a more in-depth way,” he adds.

    The blend of those sounds and styles with modern beats has brought him success both at home and with the diaspora overseas.

    “I performed in Paris, Lisbon, Luxembourg, Brazil, French Guyana, Denmark – nearly all the countries of Europe.”

    But for As One 1820, home is where the heart is, and he is looking to leave his own mark on the nation’s musical heritage.

    “I love traditional music from all the ethnic groups in Guinea-Bissau and I think it’s possible to create a fusion of these different traditional sounds that can create a new style that everyone here can feel a part of.”

    You can hear more from As One 1820 on This is Africa this Saturday, on BBC World Service radio and partner stations across Africa.

  2. Senegal to share vaccines with neighbours

    A map showing Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal

    Senegal is offering The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau 10,000 vaccines each "as a form of African solidarity" with its smaller neighbours, President Macky Sall has said.

    Senegal recently purchased its first 200,000 doses from Sinopharm and national rollout began on Tuesday.

    In The Gambia, more than 4,500 people are known to have contracted coronavirus since the outbreak began.

    In Guinea-Bissau this number is just over 3,000.

  3. Guinea-Bissau replaces national Interpol chief

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Guinea-Bissau has replaced the national director of Interpol, Melancio Correia, with former public prosecutor Bacari Biai, according to information provided by the government.

    Mr Correia's resignation comes hours after the lawyers of former Prime Minister, Domingos Simoes Pereira, criticised his involvement in the attempt to execute an international arrest warrant issued against the politician by the public prosecutor, Fernando Gomes.

    Mr Pereira's lawyers accused Mr Correia of "misconduct" when he agreed to the request for the issuance of an international arrest warrant "even though the measure did not comply with legal formalities".

    In Interpol's response to the request by the Guinean prosecutor, to which Mr Pereira's lawyers had access, it is mentioned that Article 3 of that organisation's constitution states that it is "strictly forbidden for the organisation to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character."

  4. Death of 2,000 rare vultures linked to rituals

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Hooded vultures wait for scraps of meat at Bissau's main slaughter house
    Image caption: Guinea-Bissau is home to around 22% of the critically endangered hooded vultures

    The deaths of more than 2,000 hooded vultures in Guinea-Bissau this year has been linked to superstitious rituals by a researcher.

    Mohammed Henriques told the French public radio, RFI, that heads, legs and claws of the vultures are often used in the West African country for superstitious rituals.

    He said many of the birds found dead from February were beheaded.

    "The body parts of these birds are believed to bring good fortune and special powers," RFI quoted Mr Henriques as saying.

    Toxicology reports had indicated that the birds had been poisoned by methiocarb, a pesticide banned in Europe.

    Since the initial death of hundreds of hooded vultures in February, there have been other reported fatalities of the scavengers in the Bafata and Gabu regions in eastern Guinea-Bissau and in the Bissagos archipelago, west of the country.

    Guinea-Bissau is home to around 22% of the critically endangered hooded vultures, according to Birdlife International.

  5. Buruntuma: I am a griot in modern times

    DJ Edu

    This Is Africa

    Buruntuma

    Guinea-Bissau’s super-cool DJ Buruntuma can’t prevent a guilty chuckle escaping his lips as he confesses that it was a slightly tacky mid-90s chart hit that inspired his passion for electronic music.

    “Reel 2 Reel, Erick Morillo, you know? I like to move it, move it?”

    For anyone not au fait with I Like To Move It, an earworm that was a huge chart smash across Europe in 1994, you can check it out here.

    It’s not the only example of a dance classic Buruntuma cites as he explains the listening habits of his youth.

    "Robin S, Show Me Love. These kind of northern American house tracks, together with some traditional music from Guinea-Bissau.”

    That love of Western dance music played a big part in Buruntuma turning Lisbon into a permanent base, after a number of years spent studying in the Portuguese capital.

    “I used to say that if you grew up here in Portugal you not only become Portuguese, you become Angolan, Cape Verdean, Mozambican, from Sao Tome, Brazil, because we have a lot of mix here.

    "Portugal is a tiny little piece of Africa in Europe.”

    Now an in-demand DJ in his own right, the 30-year-old’s Afro-house sound fuses his Western influences with traditional vibes. He describes himself on social media as a “storyteller lost in Lisbon” and a “modern times griot”.

    “[A griot] is an ancient family of musicians. There are people that transmit and sing the knowledge and traditions about their village, their people. They are like the guardians. I think I am a griot in modern times.”

    Buruntuma’s love of music might have been sparked by a dancefloor hit from across the Atlantic but he’s keen for others to hear the rhythms of his native land.

    “I know that we are just a tiny little piece of land but we have a lot of qualities and you see the result now. People listen to the music and they say this is good music.”

    You can hear more from Buruntuma on This is Africa this Saturday, on BBC World Service radio and partner stations across Africa.

  6. Ecowas peacekeeping troops to leave Guinea-Bissau

    Seydina Alioune Djigo

    BBC News

    The mission of a West African peacekeeping force in Guinea-Bissau has come to an end after eight years in the country.

    They were deployed by regional bloc Ecowas in 2012 following a military coup against Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior after a disputed presidential election.

    The force of about 1,000 soldiers was mandated to protect heads of institutions and public buildings.

    The authorities say Guinea-Bissau's armed forces will now take over to ensure order and stability in the country.

    Newly elected President Umaro Sissoco Embalo was confirmed on Monday by the country's Supreme Court following an appeal lodged by his opponents eight months ago.

    The country has become a major staging post for gangs smuggling cocaine from Latin America to Europe.

    Read:

  7. Guinea-Bissau leader sacks five key ministers

    Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo
    Image caption: President Umaro Sissoco Embaló's election win has been contested by his rivals

    Guinea-Bissau's President Umaro Sissoco Embaló sacked the ministers for defence, interior, economy, agriculture and energy in a decree on Sunday.

    No explanation was given. Their dismissal comes ahead of a parliamentary session on the formation of a new government.

    The country has been gripped by political turmoil for many years, with Guinea-Bissau nine coups or attempted coups since 1980.

    President Embaló was announced as the winner of December's election. However the long-time ruling party PAIGC said the elections were rigged, and its leader Domingos Simoes Pereira contested the result at the supreme court.

    The sacked ministers are all members of President Embalo's Madem-15 party or parties loyal to the president, according to Reuters news agency.

    "It is a strategy for Umaro Sissoco Embaló to gain the majority at the parliament," the agency quotes a website Ditadura de Consenso as saying.

    Mr Embaló, a former army general, has said he wants to resolve tensions and modernise Guinea-Bissau - one of the world's poorest nations.

    Read more:

  8. Guinea-Bissau PM tests positive for coronavirus

    BBC World Service

    Guinea Bissau's Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam
    Image caption: Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam says other top officials have the disease

    Guinea-Bissau's Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam has tested positive for coronavirus, the health ministry has said.

    Interior Minister Botche Cande and two other ministers also have Covid-19.

    Mr Nabiam said that several members of an interministerial coronavirus committee had the disease.

    Guinea-Bissau has a poor healthcare system due to mismanagement and a lack of resources.

    The country has so far confirmed 205 coronavirus cases and one death.

    Read:

  9. Thousands 'displaced for Guinea dam'

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    A US-based pressure group says the lives of thousands of people have been devastated by a giant hydroelectric dam being constructed in Guinea as part of China's Belt and Road initiative.

    Human Rights Watch said 16,000 people had been displaced and more than 250 sq km (96 sq miles) of land flooded.

    The displaced are not receiving replacement farmland and are being told to cultivate existing land more intensively or switch to fishing.

    The Guinean government, which is constructing the dam in partnership with China, said it is doing all it could to help the displaced find alternative livelihoods.

  10. What is happening in Guinea-Bissau?

    Ricci Shryock

    Bissau

    Voting in Guinea-Bissau
    Image caption: The elections in December were disputed

    One of the two men declared president of Guinea-Bissau has resigned from the post after just one full day in office, saying his life was in danger.

    Cipriano Cassamá was chosen by lawmakers as president following disputed elections in December.

    This was despite the fact that former army general Umaro Cissoko Embaló had already been sworn in as president at a hotel in the capital, Bissau.

    Currently on the streets of the capital ministry buildings are closed and surrounded by armed guards, as the country lurches through a protracted crisis that some parliamentarians are calling a coup.

    A truck of soldiers from a regional force, deployed to the country about eight years ago, are guarding the home of Aristides Gomes, one of two men laying claim to the post of prime minister.

    The soldiers are perched on their white truck, with a mounted machine-gun pointed outward and at the ready.

    Mr Gomes' home is just a few hundred metres from the presidential palace.

    On the same street, the Ministries of Finance, Justice and Fisheries are all closed and guarded by armed officers.

    But residents appear to be continuing with their daily lives - cashew vendors are still on the streets, and residents are still withdrawing money from cash machines along Avenue Amilcar Cabral, named after the revolutionary who led Guinea-Bissau's campaign for independence.

  11. Guinea-Bissau president resigns after one day

    Cipriano Cassamá
    Image caption: Cipriano Cassamá of the PAIGC party said his life was "in danger"

    One of the two men who had been declared president of Guinea Bissau resigned on Sunday - after just one full day in office.

    "I have no security... My life is in danger, the life of my family is in danger, the life of this people is in danger. I cannot accept that, that is why I took this decision," Cipriano Cassamá told reporters.

    Despite not being in the December ballot Mr Cassamá was appointed by parliament, the majority of whose deputies have refused to acknowledge the election victory of the former opposition leader, Umaro Sissoco Embalol.

    Mr Embalol was sworn in as head of state at a luxury hotel on Thursday after the electoral commission had again declared him the winner of December's presidential vote.

    The ruling PAIGC party is contesting that result in the Supreme Court.

    Despite the resignation of one president, Guinea-Bissau still has two rival prime ministers.

  12. Poll row sees Guinea-Bissau with two presidents

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Umaro Sissoco Embalo
    Image caption: Umaro Sissoco Embalo is a former prime minister and army general

    Guinea-Bissau's former governing party has appointed an interim president and sworn in a prime minister, despite losing last year's presidential poll.

    The PAIGC went to the Supreme Court to demand the result is overturned - it has not yet issued a ruling.

    Guinea-Bissau now has two presidents and two prime ministers.

    The opposition leader, Umaro Sissoco Embalo, who won more than 50% of the vote, insists he is the rightful head of state.

    On Thursday he swore himself in as president in a luxury hotel.

    The PAIGC, which has dominated politics since independence from Portugal in 1974, is having none of it.

    It has appointed its own man, parliamentary leader Cipriano Cassamá, as president. He was not the PAIGC's candidate in December's run-off poll.

    Cipriano Cassamá
    Image caption: Cipriano Cassamá has been made interim president by the PAIGC

    Guinea-Bissau is highly unstable and has had nine coups or attempted coups since 1980.

    It is also a key trafficking point for drugs from South America on their way to Europe.

  13. Guinea-Bissau's poll body to recount votes

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Guinea-Bissau’s National Electoral Commission is to recount the votes from the second round of the presidential election that took place on 29 December.

    The commission will on Tuesday convene its permanent and non-permanent members as well as the representatives of President-elect Umaro Sissoco Embaló and Domingos Simões Pereira.

    The electoral body said Mr Embaló had won 54% of the votes against Mr Pereira's 46%.

    State-run Guinea-Bissau News Agency (ANG) said the recount was meant to comply with a Supreme Court ruling that had raised uncertainty about the president-elect's swearing in on 27 February.

    The electoral commission had previously said that it had exhausted its authority in the matter of the electoral process, adding that there was nothing else it could do.

  14. Guinea-Bissau's president-elect survives in office

    Guinea-Bissau's electoral commission has once again confirmed Umaro Sissoco Embalo as the winner of December's presidential election run-off, following an unsuccessful Supreme Court challenge filed by his runner-up.

    Mr Domingos Simoes Pereira, who lost the run-off against Mr Embalo, said there had been substantial fraud, with votes cast surpassing the number of voters in some areas.

    The court rejected his appeal last month.

    Regional block Ecowas intervened last week, urging Guinea-Bissau's electoral commission to verify the poll results.

    On Tuesday the electoral body said Mr Embalo had won 54% of the votes against Mr Pereira's 46% - the same vote share it had announced the first time around in January.

    Mr Pereira's opposition PAIGC party suggested it would appeal the decision, criticising the electoral commission for what tit called a "lack of transparency":

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  15. Loser challenges Guinea Bissau election result

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Domingos Simoes Pereira
    Image caption: Presidential candidate Domingos Simoes Pereira dies not believe the election was free and fair

    The losing candidate in Guinea Bissau's presidential run-off poll has filed a Supreme Court challenge against the election result.

    Domingos Simoes Pereira said there had been substantial fraud, with votes cast surpassing the number of voters in some areas.

    However, African Union observers said the poll was free and fair.

    The former Prime Minister and Army General Umaro Cissoko Embalo, who won 54% of the vote, has insisted that he was the rightful winner.

    Mr Embalo has presented himself as a unifier of a politically divided country, which has had seven prime ministers in the past five years.