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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Biote replaces Dabo as Entrior Minister in Guinea-Bissau shake up

BISSAU, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Guinea-Bissau President Joao Bernardo Vieira, who faces international pressure to crack down on drug-trafficking gangs in his small, impoverished West African country, has replaced his interior minister.

Baciro Dabo, who had served only six months in the post, was substituted by Certorio Biote as internal administration minister, according to a presidential decree issued late on Tuesday and published by local media on Wednesday.

Dabo, seen as one of the few close allies of Vieira in the government formed in April after weeks of political crisis, was appointed an adviser to the president.

No reason was given for the change but Vieira had recently faced intense political pressure from within the ruling government coalition to replace Dabo.

The Social Renewal Party (PRS), which with the United Social Democratic Party (PUSD) and the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC) had formed the April government, insisted that by rights it should be given the interior ministry post as part of a power-sharing agreement.

The new minister Biote is a leading PRS member.

Although observers attributed the change to internal politics, the interior ministry job is seen as crucial to efforts to fight drug-smuggling by Latin American cartels using Guinea-Bissau as a staging post for trafficking.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

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