The present-day nation of Guinea-Bissau is one of the most historic nations on the African continent. Human communities have made their home within its borders for a long period which has greatly influenced the shape of the borders. In the modern era, Guinea-Bissau encompasses an area of about 3,948 square miles on the western edge of the African continent. Throughout its history, several communities have exerted their influence within its borders such as the Mali Empire and the Gabu Kingdom. The Portuguese were chiefly responsible for shaping Guinea-Bissau's borders as sections of the state were under Portuguese control as early as the 16th century. The current boundaries of Guinea-Bissau are roughly 474 miles long, and the country borders the two nations of Guinea and Senegal.
Border With Guinea
Guinea and Guinea Bissau are kept apart by a boundary that is roughly 262 miles long. Guinea surrounds Guinea-Bissau on the eastern and southern sections. The border between the two nations was determined during the colonial era by the French, who at the time had control of Guinea and the Portuguese who had consolidated their control of Guinea-Bissau. The Kogon River flows close to the border on the Guinean side of the border. On the Guinea Bissau side of the border, the Sultinho waterfall is the most prominent physical feature. Guinea-Bissau's Lagao de Cufada natural park is also located close to the border. There are several towns situated close to the border on the Guinea-Bissau side such as Cacine, Boe, Jemberem, and Pitche. The towns located on the Guinean side of the border include Niagassola, Mandiana, and Siguiri. One of the main points from where people can cross from Guinea to Guinea-Bissau is in the town of Sansale. Guinea-Bissau and Guinea also share a maritime border situated in the Atlantic Ocean. The border with Guinea is significant as it is the location of the easternmost point in Guinea-Bissau. Although the exact position is unnamed, it is located southwest of the Sofan village in Guinea.
The Relationship Between Guinea-Bissau and Guinea
Guinea has had a significant impact on Guinea-Bissau as it contributed to the nation being called Guinea-Bissau. The name Bissau was added on to the nation's name to prevent confusion with the nation of Guinea. The two countries cooperate on a wide range of aspects such as security, trade, economic development, and infrastructural development. Several roads link towns in Guinea to towns in Guinea-Bissau to ease the flow of goods from one nation to the other. Guinea and Guinea-Bissau also have diplomatic ties with the Guinean government being represented by an embassy located in Bissau. The government of Guinea-Bissau, on the other hand, is represented by an embassy located in Conakry.
Ambassador to Guinea Recalled
In 2009 after Moussa Camara seized control of Guinea, he recalled a significant number of Guinea's ambassadors to other nations and international organizations. One of the ambassadors called back was the ambassador to Guinea-Bissau who left a leadership vacuum at the embassy. Although the government did not give any official reason for the callback, an article in the Tocqueville Connection indicated that it might have been an attempt by Moussa Camara to cleanse the government of leaders appointed by the previous president, Lansana Conté. President Camara later appointed another ambassador filling the vacuum that had been created.
Border with Senegal
The border between Senegal and Guinea-Bissau is roughly 211 miles long and is located on the northern edge of Guinea-Bissau. The Geba River is one of the major rivers that cross the border between the two nations. The Casamance River is one of the major rivers that flow on the Senegalese side of the border. The Cacheu Natural Park, one of the significant natural parks in Guinea-Bissau is also located close to the border. The border between the two nations was determined during the colonial period by the French and the Portuguese. There are several towns located on the Guinea-Bissau side of the border with some of the most prominent being Cacheu, Farim, and Pirada. Some of the towns situated on the Senegalese side of the border include Ziguinchor, Kedougou, and Bignona.
Border Conflict with Senegal
The border between Senegal and Guinea-Bissau has been the site of one of the longest wars ever fought on the African continent. The war, the Casamance conflict, has raged for more than 30 years and has contributed to insecurity along the border. The war primarily involved rebels from the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance, who were agitating for independence for the Casamance region from Senegal, and the Senegalese government, who wanted the region to remain as part of Senegal. Evidence indicates that by 1995, the rebels had already established military bases in Guinea-Bissau and were receiving support from one of Guinea-Bissau's top military leaders. It is believed that military leadership support of the rebels could have been one of the factors that sparked a civil war in Guinea-Bissau. The rebels regularly move from Senegal into Guinea-Bissau especially when the government of Guinea-Bissau exerts pressure on them.
The Relationship Between Senegal and Guinea-Bissau
The governments of Senegal and Guinea-Bissau generally have positive ties as they cooperate on some aspects such as security, trade, and economic development. The government of Senegal sent its military to assist the Guinea-Bissau government during the coup led by Ansumane Mané. In Senegal, the government of Guinea-Bissau is represented by an embassy located in Dakar as well as a consulate general situated in the city of Ziguinchor. An embassy located in Dakar represents the government of Guinea-Bissau in Senegal.
Border Security in Guinea-Bissau
Due to the constant political turmoil in the region, the government of Guinea-Bissau has invested heavily in keeping the borders safe. The Guinea-Bissau government cooperates with the government of the neighboring countries in maintaining border security. The northwestern part of the country close to the Casamance area is considered relatively unsafe due to the constant presence of rebels from Senegal.