Umaro Sissoco Embalo becomes PM of troubled Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau's President Jose Mario Vaz (AFP Photo/SIA KAMBOU)

Bissau (AFP) - Guinea-Bissau President Jose Mario Vaz on Friday named Umaro Sissoco Embalo as prime minister of the troubled west African state, replacing Baciro Dja whose government he dissolved earlier in the week.

"Mr Umaro El Mokhtar Sissoco Embalo is named prime minister," said a presidential decree.

The new premier was sworn in later on Friday in a brief ceremony.

Monday's dissolution by the head of state aimed to solve a succession crisis that has paralysed the tiny west African state.

Guinea-Bissau has been in the throes of a power struggle since August 2015, when Vaz sacked then prime minister Domingos Simoes Pereira, leader of the ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC).

Two factions of the ruling PAIGC had failed to resolve their differences over Pereira's successor, Dja, since he was given the job in June, with some lawmakers refusing to work with him.

The new 44-year-old premier is not a well-known public figure though he has served as advisor to several heads of state.

Hours before his appointment, Embalo appeared confident in an interview with AFP that he might be chosen to head the new government, though he was aware of the challenges ahead.

"I have held various positions in previous governments, including advisor to the president, to the prime minister and to the speaker of parliament, and I was promoted to the rank of state minister and brigadier general in 2012," Embalo said.

"I know that the task that awaits me will not be easy," he added.

Guinea-Bissau has been plagued by military coups and instability since its independence from Portugal in 1974.

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