Bissau – Guinea-Bissau’s ex-navy chief, an alleged druglord accused of leading a failed coup bid in December, is currently in Senegal’s capital seeking medical treatment, his lawyer told AFP on Thursday.
Vieira Co said Admiral Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto “has not fled the country as alleged by rumours in Bissau. He left the country normally and is in Dakar for medical reasons”.
He did not give details on the treatment being sought.
Na Tchuto was released from prison on 21 June with 18 co-accused in what political observers described as a dramatic turn of events after he was arrested for his involvement in the failed 26 December coup.
The order for his release was given by army chief Antonio Indjai, who successfully ousted the government of Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior on 12 April.
Since his release he has been under close guard.
The former navy chief, labelled a drug kingpin by the United States, is one of several soldiers who are under EU and US sanctions.
Settling of scores
Na Tchuto was first accused of a coup attempt in 2008, and fled the country to Gambia.
He resurfaced in April 2010 during an army mutiny in which Indjai ousted army chief Jose Zamora Induta.
With Indjai now army chief, Na Tchuto was re-appointed as navy chief, which drew swift condemnation from abroad.
The two men were close allies, but later fell out. Na Tchuto was arrested after his failed coup bid in December, which saw clashes between troops in what some observers said was a settling of scores between the two men.
On 12 April, Indjai led a coup against Gomes’ regime in the middle of an election process. The country has since set up a transition government.
Constant power struggles between the army and the government in the former Portuguese colony have led to chronic instability, coups, counter-coups and assassinations – allowing cocaine trafficking to Europe to flourish.