Portuguese invasion of Guinea, 1970

Portuguese invasion of Guinea, 1970

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict =Portuguese invasion of Guinea, 1970
partof =Guinea-Bissau War of Independence

caption = Memorial to the 22 November 1970 attack in Conakry.
date = 22 November 1970
place = Conakry, Guinea
territory = None
result = Attack repulsed
status =
combatant1 = flagicon|Portugal Portuguese Military
flagicon|Guinea Guinean dissident forces
combatant2 = flagicon|Guinea Guinean People's Militia
combatant3 =
commander1 = flagicon|Portugal Alpoim Calvão
flagicon|Portugal António Spínola
commander2 = flagicon|Guinea Lansana Conté
flagicon|Guinea Sekou Toure
commander3 =
strength1 = 350-400
strength2 = unknown
strength3 =
casualties1 = ~200
casualties2 = ~100
casualties3 =
notes =

The 1970 Portuguese invasion of Guinea (known in Portuguese as "Operação Mar Verde", "Operation Green Sea") was a 22 November 1970 seaborne attack on the Conakry area of Guinea by Portuguese led Guinean dissident forces. While the attack, along with periodic incursions across the Guinea-Bissau border in 1971, were quickly repulsed, they had the effect of intensifing the internal repression of Ahmed Sékou Touré's regime, while doing little to slow the Guinea-Bissauan independence movement of the PAIGC, whose leadership in exile were the ostensible target of the attack.



On the night of 21-22 November 1970 some 200 armed Guineans, arrayed in uniforms similar to those of the Guinean Army, commanded by Portuguese officers, plus 220 African-Portuguese and Portuguese troops, landed at points around Conakry. Four unmarked ships, including an LST and a cargo vessel disembarked troops at Conakry city center, while others landed near the president's summer house in "Belle Vue" and the airport. There they burnt Sékou Touré's home (he was in the Presidential Palace at the time), briefly captured two army posts, and the headquarters of the PAIGC, freed 26 Portuguese POWs held by the PAIGC, and quickly withdrew. The main body of Portuguese raiders attacked the headquarters of the PAIGC in suburban Conakry, but their presumed target, Amílcar Cabral, was in Europe. They then moved on to the Airport, where their intelligence indicated several MIG fighter aircraft were stationed. The MIGs were inland, their pilots still in training by the Nigerian and Algerian air forces. Each of these three collumns of troops were quickly met by Guinean militia forces, and the raiders' ships retreated under heavy fire, abandoning around half their forces. 20-40 African-Portuguese troops defected during the operation.


Guinean crackdown

The months that followed the attack both strengthened and weakened the Touré government. By all accounts, civilians participated in the fighting, and the opposition to what was a essentially a coup attempt by Portuguese was near universal domestically and across Africa.fact|date=June 2008

The reaction of the Guinean government, though, was a taste of the repression that was to grow through the 1970s. Within a week, Sekou Toure had placed himself in charge of a new ten person committee which would run the country, largely by decree: the "Haut-Commandement", the High Command. Staffed with loyal members of the Political Bureau, the High Command oversaw arrests, detentions without trial, and executions, mostly among previously trusted government and police officials. After a five day trial, on 23 January 1971, the "Supreme Revolutionary Tribunal" handed down 29 executions (carried out three days later), 33 death sentences "in absentia", 68 life sentences at hard labor (including of those Portuguese-African troops who defected), and 17 orders of confiscation of all property. 89 of those officially charged were released, though dissidents say more people "disappeared" into prison or were summarially executed. Those sentenced to die included members of the governing party (including the neighborhood party chiefs in Conakry), the Conakry chief of Police, a secretary to the President, an assistant minister of finance, and at least five Guinean soldiers. Those who had their property confiscated were entirely French or Lebanese, and a number of Europeans were rounded up to a variety of fates. Among those condemned to life were former government Ministers, heads of state industries, a former regional governor, and the top two officials of the National Museum. The trial gave strong indications of a purge.

Dissident leaders have claimed that a high proportion of Fula officials in those arrested was an indication that the so-called Peul plots of 1976 (purges of Peul/Fulbe notables from the Fouta Djallon region, accused of an attempted coup) began in the reaction to the 22 November events. Whatever ethnic, ideological, or anti-colonial dimension this purge had, in retrospect it was the beginning of a government that became ever more obsessed with ferreting out internal opposition -- real or imagined -- for the next decade.

Pan-African response

ee also

* Guinea-Bissau War of Independence
* United Nations Security Council Resolution 295: 3 August 1971 resolution regarding continued border incursions.
* António Spínola: Governor of Portuguese Guinea at the time.


* Thomas O'Toole, Janice E. Baker. Historical Dictionary Of Guinea (3rd ed), Scarcrow Press, 2005. ISBN 0810846349 pp. 164-165.
*Pt icon António Luís Marinho. Operação Mar Verde - um documento para a história. Lisbon: Temas e Debates, 2006. 8°. ISBN 972759817X
*Pt icon [http://dn.sapo.pt/2006/04/17/nacional/mar_verde_revelados_documentos_sobre.html 'Mar Verde': revelados documentos sobre operação militar ainda secreta] . Manuel Carlos Freire. Diário de Notícias. 17 April 2006.
* [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,877145-1,00.html Cloudy Days in Conakry] , Time Magazine, Monday, Dec. 07, 1970.
* "Guinea Reports Invasion From Sea by Portuguese; Lisbon Denies Charge U.N. Council Calls for End to Attack Guinea Reports an Invasion From Sea by Portuguese" By The Associated Press, The New York Times, November 23 1970, Monday Page 1, 644 words
* Alpha Abdoulaye Diallo Portos. [http://www.westafrik.com/bibliotheque/portos/verite_ministre/tdm.html "L'agression portugaise du 22 novembre 1970 et ses consquences"] in La verite du ministre. Dix ans dans les geles de Sekou Toure Paris. Calman-Levy. 1985.
* Kindo Toure. [http://www.westafrik.com/bibliotheque/kindo_toure/unique_survivant/chap3.html Unique Survivant du Complot Kaman-Fodba] . Editions L'Harmattan. Paris, 1987.
* Camara Kaba [http://www.westafrik.com/bibliotheque/kaba41/cabel.html "Chronique d'une agression annoncée"] , Dans la Guinée de Sékou Touré : cela a bien eu lieu. Paris, L'Harmattan. 1998.
* (German) Cord Eberspächer/Gerhard Wiechmann : Systemkonflikt in Afrika. Deutsch-deutsche Auseinandersetzungen im Kalten Krieg am Beispiel Guineas 1969-1972 (System conflict in Africa. German-German clashes in the Cold War by the example of Guinea 1969-1972) in : Zeitschrift des Forschungsverbundes SED-Staat, Nr. 23, Berlin 2008, ISBN 0948-9878, p. 30-41.

External links

* [http://www.westafrik.com/perpetrateurs/portugal/index.html Image of the 26 Portuguese POWs in Guinea] .

Guniean government directives following the attack

* [http://www.westafrik.com/victimes/novembre22/actes_officiels/haut_commandement.html "Décision du Bureau Politique National": creation of the "Haut-Commandement"] . Retrieved 2008-03-18.
* [http://www.westafrik.com/victimes/novembre22/arret.html Declaration of Arrests, Trial, and Sentences for those accused in the 22 November plot:] 18-22 January, 1971. "Tribunal revolutionnaire supreme". Retrieved 2008-03-18.

Recollections of Portuguese soldiers

*Pt icon João Tunes. [http://blogueforanada.blogspot.com/2006/05/guin-6374-dccxxxii-onde-que-vocs.html Guiné 63/74 - DCCXXXII: Onde é que vocês estavam em 22 de Novembro de 1970 ?] Luís Graça & Camaradas da Guiné, 04 May 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-18.
*Pt icon João Tunes. [http://agualisa6.blogs.sapo.pt/35531.html DA HORA DOS AVENTUREIROS] , 2 May 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-18.
*Pt icon Carlos Fortunato. [http://bissauccac13.com.sapo.pt/BissauConackry.html Operação Mar Verde - 22/11/1970] , Crónica de Carlos Fortunato, ex-furriel da CCaç. 13. 24/02/2003, revised 21/07/2006. Retrieved 2008-03-18.

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