Archived page: may contain outdated information!
  • Send page
  • Print page

Guinea-Bissau: Resumption of fighting: Red Cross evacuates wounded

12-05-1999 News Release 99/19

On the evening of 6 May government troops loyal to President Vieira and rebel forces led by General Mane clashed for the fourth time since a cease-fire was signed in August 1998. The next day, after violent fighting in the streets of Bissau, government forces surrendered to General Mane's military junta. At least 80 civilians and combatants died and 180 were wounded in the clashes.

As soon as the violence broke out, the ICRC provided the Simao Mendes Hospital with emergency medical aid consisting of 8 dressing kits that covered the needs of about 320 wounded. On 7 and 8 May, teams from the Red Cross Society of Guinea-Bissau evacuated about 60 wounded and 80 dead (including the bodies of 55 civilians found in a shelter for displaced persons that was " mistakenly " hit by two shells). Other National Society teams helped medical personnel by cleaning the hospital.

As calm returned to the capital, the ICRC approached the military junta and ECOMOG forces to obtain rapid access, in conformity with its mandate, to those arrested. On 10 May ECOMOG handed over to the authorities some 600 government troops and other persons, some of whom had sought safety in ECOMOG camps during the fighting. Since the beginning of the conflict in June 1998 the ICRC has visited 78 prisoners.