By Frederic Tendeng
The wife of former Bissau Guinean Navy Chief, Admiral Jose Americo
Bubo Na Tchuto, is under arrest and detained in a military camp in Bissau. Sources close to her family disclosed that a military squad picked Ms. Na Tchuto, who is a Sergeant in the Guinea Bissau army, on January 2nd, just four days after her husband’s controversial return from exile. The spokesman of Guinea Bissau’s Military Joint Command, Samuel Fernandes, confirmed the arrest of the Former Navy Chief’s spouse but refused to give out details on the circumstances of the arrest and the exact whereabouts of Ms Na Tchuto.
The office coordinator of the West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP), Etchen Sambu, told former RFI’s correspondent in Bissau, Alain Yéro Mbalo, that “Ms. Na Tchuto was arrested for deserting her unit in the army.” Mr Sambu who spoke to officials of Guinea Bissau’s joint staff said “The Staff told us that she is held for security reasons and for having deserted her military unit.’’ ‘‘But she is going well,” Etchen Sambu assured. Her husband, Admiral Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto, who has been accused of being involved in a coup attempt in August 2008, returned secretly to his country on December 28th by canoe from the neighbouring Gambia where he took refuge since he appeared to be the number one suspect. Following his secret return, Admiral Bubo Na Tchuto immediately asked for UN protection in Bissau hence forcing embarrassment to authorities in his country. The office of the United Nations in Guinea-Bissau announced last week it had reached a peaceful deal for a lawful arrangement in the case of the former Navy Chief.
Many people in Guinea Bissau believe that the arrest of Ms Na Tchuto is a settling of scores that may further complicate the search for a solution to the case of the former Navy Chief of Staff. While some unconfirmed report say the UN has since handed him over to the Bissau government, reports from other quarters say he is still hiding in the United Nations premises and refuses to surrender without a guarantee of safety for himself and his family.