At a summit meeting earlier this month, leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) extended the mandate of a small peacekeeping force in Guinea-Bissau that was put in place after a coup in the West African state in April. In an email interview, Lars Rudebeck, a professor emeritus of political science at Uppsala University in Sweden, discussed ECOWAS’ mission in Guinea-Bissau.*
WPR: What is the composition of the ECOWAS force in Guinea-Bissau, and what are its goals?
Lars Rudebeck: The force is made up of around 600 soldiers from Burkina Faso, Senegal and Togo, according to ECOWAS. It was initially deployed in May 2012 for six months. At the ECOWAS summit meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, earlier this month, the decision was made to extend the mandate for the force for another six months. It is reported that Nigerian troops will now be substituting for some of the others.