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President of Guinea-Bissau dies, country fears political instability

President Malam Bacai Sanha of Guinea-Bissau died on Monday in a Paris hospital.

According to CNN, Sanha, 64, was being treated for a longtime illness at Val-de-Grace Hospital.

Sanha became president of the politically unstable country in 2009 after President Joao Bernardo Vieira was assassinated. He acted as interim president and once a formal election was held, he beat opponent Kumba Yala.

According to Voice of America, Sanha’s presidency marked a time of order for Guinea-Bissau, a country that is no stranger to turmoil. His death may bring about more chaos in a country with already fragile political and economic systems.

“Guineans will mourn Sanha and the stability he brought,” said student Bineta Piero. “We are fed up of gunshots. Other countries want to help, but we are afraid that if all they see is gunshots, they will stop helping.”

Guinea-Bissau has been home to a number of uprisings by their armed forces since their declaration of independence in 1974. In a recent effort  to upset the government,  a coup was attempted by soldiers in December.

“It’s happened before; it happens all the time,” said Richard Antwi, a priest in the capital city of Bissau. “One problem with the military is professionalism. They need to be trained to know that their job is to stay in the barracks. They have nothing to do with the political system.”

“Yes, they are here to protect and defend the country, but not to intervene and take power.”