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Coup Attempt In Guinea-Bissau, ECOWAS Confirms

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has called for peace in Guinea-Bissau, as gunfire was heard around the government palace in the capital Bissau on Tuesday, triggering concerns of a coup.

“ECOWAS condemns the coup attempt and holds the military responsible for the physical integrity of President Umaro Sissoco Embalo and members of his government,” ECOWAS said in a statement.

“ECOWAS asks the military to return to their barracks and maintain a republican posture,” the statement concluded.

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Mamadou Jao, an academic in Guinea Bissau, told CNN that the streets were quiet across the capital, as worried residents stayed inside awaiting more information.

“Bissau is quiet but we don’t know what is happening near the government place… We are waiting to know more about what is happening,” Jao said.

Jao added that the power was off in homes saying: “The place is in darkness for about three or four hours. It is not something that happens normally.”

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The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also called for an immediate end to the fighting.

“The Secretary-General is deeply concerned with the news of heavy fighting in Bissau,” said a statement on Tuesday.

Guinea-Bissau’s history has been marked by several military coups since the country gained independence from Portugal in 1974.

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These conflicts have ravaged the country’s infrastructure and economy, leaving it among the poorest in the world.

By Tuesday evening, it was unclear whether the assailants had taken control of the compound, and the whereabouts of President Umaro Sissoco Embaló, who took office in 2020, were unknown.

The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, asked the soldiers in a statement to “return to their barracks” and keep the president safe, echoing the plea it made to military officers in Burkina Faso only eight days earlier.

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If the uprising in Guinea-Bissau is successful, West Africa will have endured five coups in 18 months. Soldiers across the region are toppling elected leaders at the highest rate in four decades, analysts say. The overthrows tend to start with protest movements and a sense the government has failed people — on education, jobs, health care and security.

In Burkina Faso, where soldiers deposed the president Jan. 24, thousands have died in a conflict that has only grown since 2015. They blamed authorities for failing to equip the army in the battle against fighters linked to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

In neighboring Mali — where researchers say those insurgencies took hold — military leaders have twice sacked the president since August 2020, initially accusing the government of diverting funds from the army and leaving soldiers vulnerable to slaughter.

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Warfare in vast stretches of West Africa has made it impossible for many to go to the doctor or school. More than2.6 million people have lost their homes, according to the U.N.’s refugee agency.

Guinea-Bissau — a nation of 2 million people and 88 islands — has avoided the insurgency threat.

The country emerged in economic tatters from an 11-year war for freedom from Portugal’s colonial rule. Leaders turned to illicit sources of income, which fueled significant instability. In the past two decades alone, Guinea-Bissau has counted two successful coups, a civil war and a presidential assassination. Just one president has finished a term since the country gained independence in 1974.

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The United Nations has blasted security forces for trafficking cocaine, and Guinea-Bissau developed a reputation as Africa’s first narco-state. Last September, the United States posted a reward of up to $5 million for the former head of the military, Antonio Indjai, calling him “one of the most powerful destabilizing figures” in the country.

Officials accused the former general of clearing smuggling paths for South American drug gangs.

But Indjai continued to split his time between his home in the capital, Bissau, and his cashew farm in the countryside. Analysts said the president feared that handing over the influential figure could spark another mutiny.

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Source: cnn | Washington Post

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International

Kobby Stonne Tours Voice of America As Part Of His Visit To The United States.

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Renowned Ghanaian sports journalist, Kobby Stonne on Saturday, March 2, 2024, embarked on a business tour to the premises of Voice of America as part of his vacation in the United States.

Kobby Stonne at Voice of America.

In an exclusive interview with Sintim Media, the multimedia sports journalist shared his experience during his visit to Voice of America. 

In narrating his experience at Voice of America, Kobby Stonne wrote;

“Journalists are civilians. We are not targets. We are not combatants. Our pens and our cameras are not weapons of war, but tools of justice. And above all, we are human beings,” – CPJ president Jodie Ginsberg.

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My recent visit to Voice of America (VOA) in Washington DC on February 28, 2024 was organized by Go Ghana LLC, a sports and tourism consortium based in the U.S.A. The goal of the tour was to know more of the Voice of America (VOA) Journalist Standards & Practices.

Voice of America (VOA) is the state-owned news network and international radio broadcaster of the United States of America. It is the largest and oldest of the U.S. – funded international broadcasters. It is an independent federal agency overseeing public service media networks that provide unbiased news and information in countries where the press is restricted.

VOA occupies a unique position of trust worldwide as a consistently reliable source of news and information. VOA considers it a duty to provide accurate, balanced, comprehensive and objective news and information to audiences around the world.

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The tour started with an in-depth studio visit where I learned about the rich history of VOA and traced its beginnings to 1942 when it was founded as the US Government Agency for Global Media. One interesting fact about Voice of America is that, it is not under the control or supervision of the President. Even though it is fully government funded.

It is controlled by an independent agency. Their declared mission is “to broadcast accurate, balanced, and comprehensive news and information to an international audience. That gives them the power not to be biased in their broadcast.

I also had the opportunity to engage with other journalists as well, and a one-on-one interview with VOA sports journalist Mike Hove, who offered a perceptive analysis of the significance of Lionel Messi’s entry into the MLS and the changing face of American football.

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The impact of Lionel Messi on MLS is a great one as it opens doors for MLS to have great players, he stated. He also made it clear that, football or Soccer is still among the top sports in America.

With the U.S.A. government delegation attending the just-ended AFCON tournament in Africa, will open more opportunities for Africans to join the USA team.

He also emphasized the importance of getting more attention on the sports than the relegations. Mike elaborated on the closest Sports of Africa which is closest to America is Rugby.

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VOA has also honored some Media personnel who gave their lives to protect the truth, including notable figures like Abdul-Hussein Khazal, Georgi Markov, and Leonid Karas, Ricardo de Mello, Abdul -Hussein Khazal, Abdulrachmann Fatalibey , Iskandar Khatloni, Nazzar Abdulwahid Al-Radhi, Ogulsapar Muradowa, Vira Hyryeh,  Ali Nur Said, Sabawoon Kakar, Maharram Dumani, Basher Fahmi, Mohammed Ali Nuxurkey and many others whose efforts continue to influence VOA’s journalistic philosophy.

VOA produces digital, TV, and radio content in 49 languages, which it distributes to affiliate stations around the world. Its targeted and primary audience is non-American. As of November 2022, its reporting reached 326 million adults per week across all platforms.

With more than three thousand five hundred (3,500) affiliated radio and television stations, VOA continues to be a pillar of global journalism today. Its dedication to providing accurate, in-depth news analysis is emphasized by its aim to counter disinformation, and misinformation and speak up for the voiceless.

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The legacy of VOA was emphasized by its dedication to impartial reporting, which was demonstrated by its thorough coverage of major international events and its capacity to win praise from listeners all around the world in addition to the American press.

With the addition of music and educational programming, particularly its music program that has linked the United States and Africa for decades, and its Special English broadcasts targeted at English language learners worldwide, the new millennium marked a revolutionary period for VOA.

Plans are underway for media internship program in U.S.A. through Go Ghana LLC. The purpose of the Media Program is to gain a new perspective on a different culture, the opportunity for career exploration and development, and to learn new skills.

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VOA is proud of its long and distinguished record of journalistic achievement. Since 1942, in times of war and peace, VOA journalists have upheld the highest standards in their broadcasts to a diverse worldwide audience. Their determined efforts, sometimes in the face of danger, have helped VOA attract its audience and earn its reputation for excellence.

Source: Sintm Media

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