US indicts Guinea-Bissau army chief on narco ties

The US Department of Justice on April 15 accused Guinea-Bissau's top military official, Gen. Antonio Indjai, of plotting a cocaine-for-weapons deal with Colombia's FARC rebels, according to court documents seen by Reuters.  The indictment, filed in district court in Manhattan, charges Indjai on four counts: "narco-terrorism conspiracy"; conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization; cocaine importation conspiracy; and conspiracy to acquire and transfer anti-aircraft missiles. The supposed deal came to light after Guinea-Bissau's former navy chief and six henchmen were arrested on the high seas by US forces.

However, as in other such DEA stings involving West African suspects, the FARC connection is actually non-existent—despite deceptive headlines. The suspects, who agreed to the deal and pledged the cooperation of both Indjai and President Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo, were actually talking with DEA agents posing as FARC representatives. President Nhamadjo anrigly rejected the accusation as "criminal."

Military coups d'etat have been a constant feature of life in Guinea-Bissau, which has never seen an elected president reach the end of his mandate since independence from Portugal in 1974. The latest coup d'etat on April 12, 2012, a few days after the second round of presidential elections, saw Nhamadjo appointed transitional president as part of a deal made between military commanders and political leaders. In recent years, Guinea-Bissau been labeled a "narco-state." (Reuters, April 18; Global Voices, April 15)

The DEA has long worked to create the illusion of globe-spanning FARC operations.