Cease Fire: Abuja Peace Agreement

ABUJA PEACE AGREEMENT

II. The parties to the conflict in Guinea-Bissau meeting in Abuja, Nigeria on 21 October and 1st November 1998 in the context of the efforts of the 21st Summit of the Authority of the Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Hereby As Follows:

1. Reaffirm the ceasefire agreement signed in Praia on 26 August 1998,
Ceasefire agreement in Bissau (August 26, 1998)

Under the joint chairmanship of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP), the Government of Bissau and the Self-proclaimed Military Junta met in Praia on 25 August 1998 and decided to transform the truce agreed upon in the Memorandum of Understanding signed at Bissau on 26 July 1998 into a ceasefire based on the following principles:

Article 1

The Government of Bissau and the Self-denominated Military Junta agree to an immediate ceasefire based on the principles indicated below:

(a) Reaffirmation of the public recognition of democratic institutions and legality;

(b) Freezing of their respective military positions held at the time of the entry into force of the Memorandum of Understanding of 26 July 1998;

(c) Reopening the Osvaldo Vieira Airport in order to facilitate the viability of humanitarian aid, the logistic support to the ceasefire observation mission and the return of refugees;

(d) Deployment of observation and interposition forces, to be defined through negotiations;

(e) Strengthening of the opening of humanitarian corridors;

(f) Creation of conditions which may facilitate the return of refugees and resettlement of displaced persons.

Article 3

This Agreement will enter into force on 26 August 1998, at 2 a.m.

Implementation History

1998

Intermediate Implementation

A ceasefire agreement was reached on 26 August 1998 but fighting continued.  By mid-October, the government and rebel forces had resumed armed conflict.1 As the rebels began to gain more territory, Guinea-Bissau’s president ordered all government troops to stop fighting and called for a meeting with the rebel leader to reach a peaceful settlement.2 Demanding the withdrawal of all foreign troops that supported President Joao Bernardo Vieira, the rebel leader Brig. Ansumane Mane announced a 48-hr ceasefire on 24 October.3 On 25 October, both sides agreed to initiate talks.4 On 30 October, the leaders of the warring parties went to the Nigerian capital, Abuja, for peace talks on the sideline of the ECOWAS summit.5 On 1 November 1998, both sides signed the Abuja Peace Agreement that reaffirmed the August ceasefire agreement. After the Abuja Peace Agreement, there was no fighting for the rest of the year.

  • 1. "Guinea-Bissau: Cease-Fire Jeopardized by Resumption of Fighting in Bissau,”BBC Monitoring Africa, October 19, 1998.
  • 2. “Guinea-Bissau's President Calls for Cease-Fire After Rebels Advance,"The Associated Press, October 21, 1998.
  • 3. “Guinea-Bissau's Rebels announce cease-fire, demand withdrawal of foreign troops,”Associated Press, October 24, 1998.
  • 4. “Guinea-Bissau Rebel Leader Agrees to Talks with President,” Associated Press, October 25, 1998.
  • 5. “Guinea-Bissau Leaders Arrive in Abuja for Negotiations, as West African Summit,”Agence France Presse, October 30, 1998.
1999

Intermediate Implementation

The Abuja Peace Agreement was signed in November of 1998 and reaffirmed the ceasefire accord signed in August of 1998. The Agreement faltered when the rebel forces led by General Ansumane Mane and the government forces loyal to President Vieira exchanged gunfire. It was reported that the two sides clashed on 31 January. The rebels asked the president to leave the capital. It was also reported that thousands fled their homes due to ongoing clashes between rebel and government forces.6

The government and rebel representatives negotiated a ceasefire agreement on 3 February 1999,7 by which time the fighting was reported to have killed at least 35 people and wounded several hundred others. In the accord, both sides agreed to the immediate withdrawal of the non-ECOMOG Senegalese and Guinean forces who had been bolstering President Vieira. Meeting in Lomé, Togo on 17 February, Mane and Vieira pledged never to resort to arms again.8

However, forces loyal to the rebels and the government clashed again on 7 May 1999. The rebels concentrated their attack in the capital city, including the presidential residence. Troops fighting for the president surrendered and the president took refuge at the Senegalese Embassy in Bissau. He requested asylum from Portugal, which was granted.9 After this incident, the ECOWAS and the United Nations Security Council condemned the ousting of the democratically elected president.10 No fighting was reported after the ousting of the president.

  • 6. “Guinea-Bissau: Government, Rebel Forces Reportedly Engage in Heavy Fighting,” BBC Monitoring Africa, January 31, 1999; “Guinea-Bissau crisis worsens as thousands begin to flee,” Agence France Presse, February 01, 1999.
  • 7. “Warring sides in Guinea-Bissau sign ceasefire accord.” Agence France Presse, 03 February 1999.
  • 8. "Guinea-Bissau," Keesing's Record of World Events 45 (January 1999): 42708.
  • 9. “Guinea-Bissau: President's Residence Attacked, Loyalists Surrender,” BBC Monitoring Africa, May 8, 1999.
  • 10. “UN Council Concerned at Resumption of Fighting in Guinea-Bissau,” Xinhua News Agency, May 7, 1999; “ECOWAS Foreign Ministers Take Decisions on Niger, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone,” BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, May 28, 1999.
2000

Full Implementation

At this time, no further violations of the ceasefire were reported.

2001

Full Implementation

No further violations were reported.

2002

Full Implementation

No further violation were reported.

2003

Full Implementation

No further violations were reported.

2004

Full Implementation

No further violations were reported.

2005

Full Implementation

No further violatons were reported.

2006

Full Implementation

No further violations were reported.

2007

Full Implementation

No further violations were reported.

2008

Full Implementation

No further violations were reported.

2009

Full Implementation

No further violations were reported.