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Guinea Bissau's top intelligence official has been suspended following the arrest of former navy chief and alleged drugs kingpin Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto, a government order seen Thursday by AFP shows.
The decree says Serifo Mane's removal was part of a "restructuring" of the home ministry and to improve services tasked with "maintaining constitutional order".
But security sources told AFP Mane was being blamed for an "intellegence breakdown" ahead of Na Tchuto's arrest Friday in international waters near the west African island nation of Cape Verde by undercover US Drug Enforcement Administration officials.
The sources said intelligence services were criticised "for not having demonstrated competence" after the transfer to the US of Na Tchuto, who is alleged to have exploited instability in his homeland to establish himself as a major middleman in the global narcotics trade.
"General information did not work," a senior police officer said.
Bissau vowed after the arrest that it would "defend" Na Tchuto, as it would any of its citizens in trouble, "wherever they may be".
According to the government order, dated Wednesday and signed by Home Minister Antonio Suka Ntchama, assistant director Nhaga Oliveira has been appointed as an interim replacement for Mane, who had been in the job just under a year.
The United Nations Security Council last year said that drug trafficking in Guinea Bissau had grown since a junta took control after an April 2012 coup.