Before leaving for Brazil for a meeting with Jair Bolsonaro, the President of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embaló, denied the extradition of a soldier from his country accused by the United States of narcoterrorism.
Last week, the US State Department announced a $ 5 million award for information that “leads to the arrest and conviction of António Indjai”, former head of the Guinean armed forces.
According to the US diplomatic agency, in a statement, Indjai “headed a criminal organization that played a leading role in drug trafficking in Guinea-Bissau and the region for many years, even though he was at the head of the armed forces “. The White House also said the former military leader used “illegal resources to corrupt and destabilize other foreign governments.”
On Monday (23), before leaving the capital Bissau on an FAB (Brazilian Air Force) flight to Brazil, Embaló said in a speech broadcast by local television that his government had failed the intention to hand over Indjai to the Americans and as possible the crimes should be analyzed by the justice of the African country.
“If Antonio [Indjai] did what they said he did, if they prove it we can try it here. He is free to move throughout the national territory. What the Americans said is valid in America, but not here, ”said the African leader, according to Deutsche Welle, a German public communications company. “And it’s not just António Indjai. No citizen will be captured here to stand trial in another country. “
According to the US State Department’s award announcement, Indjai is the target of two formal charges in a US court. In one of them, undercover agents of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) acted as representatives of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and began negotiations with Indjai and his auxiliaries. in Guinea-Bissau.
“Between June and November 2012, Indjai agreed to receive and store tons of cocaine allegedly held by the FARC, an amount he believed was sold for the benefit of the FARC. Indjai and other conspirators agreed to buy weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles. , for the FARC, using funds from drug sales to do so and creating a shell company in Guinea-Bissau to close the illicit arms deal, ”US authorities said.
The military has been charged in the United States with conspiring to narcoterrorism; conspiracy to import cocaine; conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization; and plot to buy anti-aircraft missiles. At the airport in Guinea, Embaló also said, according to the Lusa news agency, that the United States “does not have the right to put Indjai’s head on a prize because he is not a terrorist”.
The African president is due to stay in Brazil for a week. This Tuesday (24), he met Bolsonaro – of whom he is an open admirer – and participated in a lunch in Itamaraty. He also tries to be received by the Presidents of the House, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), and of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (DEM-MG).
Due to admiration for the Brazilian president, Embaló, who is also a military man, has been dubbed the “Bolsonaro of Africa”. Bolsonaro himself used the nickname to announce Embaló’s official visit, during a conversation with supporters last month. At the time, he could not remember the name of the guest or his country.
In Guinea-Bissau, Embaló, 48, is criticized for appointing soldiers to key positions in the state structure, to the detriment of civil servants, and for supporting the police crackdown on a strike by teachers and health professionals. The African is also defending a reform of the country’s constitution, which, according to opponents, aims to concentrate powers in the hands of the president.
The authoritarianism of the Guinean leader accuses him of wanting to set up a dictatorship.
Embaló must also pass through São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In São Paulo, he has a scheduled meeting with Governor João Doria (PSDB) and a visit to the Portuguese Language Museum. In Rio, he is to hold meetings with senior Navy officials.