Guinea Bissau

The African Union (AU) has suspended Guinea Bissau from the 54-member bloc with immediate effect, a senior AU official said. The Pan-African organization also threatened to impose more sanctions on the West African nation if the soldiers who seized power there failed to respond positively to the call to restore constitutional order. The decision to suspend Guinea Bissau's membership was taken by the AU's Peace and Security Council (PSC), after discussing the military coup in the country.

Angola is ending its military mission to help modernise the army in Guinea Bissau as a result of requests from unnamed 'sectors' in the country, Portuguese news agency Lusa quoted Angola's foreign minister as saying. Guinea Bissau is currently in the middle of two rounds of voting to elect a new president to replace Malam Bacai Sanha, who died in a Paris hospital in January after a long illness.

The runner-up in Sunday's presidential election in Guinea-Bissau has said he will not participate in a run-off vote. Former president Kumba Yala has claimed the first round of voting was unfair. Provisional results from Sunday's poll gave ex-prime minister Carlos Gomez 49 per cent of the vote out of nine candidates. Kumba Yala came in second with 23 per cent.

The small west African state of Guinea-Bissau went to the polls on Sunday to elect a new president - an office no one has yet held for a full five-year term. Ahead of the voting, the appeals for calm multiplied from the international community well aware of the impoverished country's violent history. Since independence from Portugal in 1974, achieved after an 11-year armed conflict, three presidents have been overthrown by coups, and one was assassinated in office in 2009.

The death of the president of Guinea-Bissau, Malam Bacai Sanhá, could usher in a replay of the military uprisings that have set an unmistakable seal of instability on the political life of this small West African country. Sanhá, who died Monday 9 January in Paris, was one of the few surviving heroes of the liberation struggle against the Portuguese colonial army. That enabled him to play a mediating role in the frequent disputes for power in Guinea-Bissau, which gained independence in 1974.