Humanitarian Situation Report: Guinea-Bissau, 21 October 1998

Situation Report
Originally published
Period covered: 21 October 1998

Bafata As of 10:00 a.m. today Bafata had not yet fallen, contrary to reports by Portuguese radio carried in yesterday s report. However, as of 12:00 a.m. today it was confirmed that the military junta has now taken control of the city, as well as Bombadinca, Xime, Fulacunda.

Bissau - UN Local staff reported relative calm throughout night (light arms only) with combat and heavy shooting reported from 7:00 a.m. and throughout the day, particularly in Luanda and Ajuda Bairros (central north of city). As of 17:00, heavy shelling from both sides is still reported.

Bissau region Prabis is reported to be under military junta control.


Massive population movements have been reported from Bafata towards Gabu throughout the morning.

Overall, initial assessments indicate that the majority of Guinea Bissau s IDPs are concentrated in the two northern regions of Oio and Cacheu. The population that took refuge in Nhacra after the incident of 9-10 October, began to move towards Mansoa and Bissora on 19 October as a result of the shellings in Nhacra which killed one person and wounded two. We are without information about the movement of population of Bombadinca, Xime, and Fulacunda. It is assumed that they have moved southbound.


WFP has confirmed the plan to position WFP food in Cacheu, Bubaque and Bolama (see report 20 Oct.) and a mission will be deployed to Bubaque tomorrow (22 October).

Around noon today, important movement of population was reported from Bafata in the direction Gabu. The WFP warehouse is 4 kilometers outside of Bafata and is currently holding 800 MTs of food. Looting was feared when armed people threatened the warehouse keepers. Fortunately, communications this afternoon have clarified that the military junta arrived on the site and took control of the warehouse and will protect the food stocks until food distribution is possible. An assessment of the situation between the Senegalese border and Bafata is being planned in order to determine the proper course of action. Specifically, the movement of the loyalists and Guinea Conacry soldiers in retreat will influence the plans for eventual return of staff required to distribute the food to IDPs.

The major area of concern at the time of writing is to access the Prabis area, because of the very harsh conditions under which the IDPs are living there. The current course of events may suggest a two-pronged approach: (1) By road from Mansoa toward Prabis, and; (2) by sea from Bubaque.

An information sharing session was convened today with over 40 (forty) participants including UN Agencies, NGOs, ICRC, ECHO and the Canadian special fund for Bissau. The participants agreed to contribute relevant information to OCHA in order to build the most accurate picture possible reflecting the current population movements in-country. Based on the collective UN/NGO resources available at present, we have identified at least 35 different points countryside from which to receive reliable information. We hope that by next Wednesday, we will be able to provide a first draft of the current picture. UN/NGO partners also agreed to the revitalisation of UN/NGO sectoral working-groups which will both (1) analyse the current conditions and the proposed sectoral response, and (2) facilitate full UN/NGO participation in 1999 appeal.

Sources : Unless otherwise specified, all information contained in this report has been collected in-country from the UN, NGOs, ICRC network in Guinea Bissau.

This report is available on the internet through RELIEFWEB:

Complex Emergency Response /
Consolidated Appeal Process
(CER/CAP) - Geneva
Mr. Ernest Chipman - Chief
Mr. Thierry Delbreuve
Tel.: (41 22) 788.7019
Fax: (41 22) 788.6386
Registry E-Mail:

Complex Emergencies Division
(CED) - New York
Mr. Yvon Madore
Tel.: (1 212) 963.1627
Fax: (1 212) 963.1388
E-Mail :

Information Service
Ms. Thérèse Gastaut - Director
Tel.: (41 22) 917.2300
Fax: (41 22) 917.0030

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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