Angolan troops finish Guinea-Bissau pullout
6/9/2012 5:40:01 PM -
LUANDA (AFP) - Angolan troops, whose presence in Guinea-Bissau angered local soldiers and prompted a coup in April, ended their pullout from the west African country on Saturday, a military official said.
"The withdrawal operation ends today with the arrival in Angola of the last group of our soldiers from Guinea-Bissau," the official said.
It "marks the end of the military cooperation agreements between Angola and Guinea-Bissau," he added.
Men, tanks, heavy weaponry and other equipment for the 600-strong force began leaving Guinea-Bissau on Wednesday aboard aircraft and ships.
The troops had arrived in March 2011 as part of a bilateral military agreement.
However in a country where decades of conflict between army and state have led to coups, assassinations and chronic instability, they were seen as a personal protection force for the government, prompting the April 12 coup.
The Angolans are being replaced by an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mission known as ECOMIB.
In addition, Luanda would not replace ambassador Feliciano Antonio Dos Santos who left in April, an Angolan diplomat said on Wednesday.