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Cape Verdean Armed Forces

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Chief of Defense  Felipe Tavares
Active personnel  1,200
Conscription  14 months
Percent of GDP  0.7% (2005)
Cape Verdean Armed Forces
Service branches  National Guard and Coast Guard (includes air wing)[1]
Commander-in-Chief  Jorge Carlos Fonseca (President of Cape Verde)

The Cabo Verdean Armed Forces (Portuguese: Forças Armadas Cabo Verdeanas) or FACV are the military of Cape Verde. They include two branches, the National Guard and the Coast Guard.



Before 1975, Cape Verde was an overseas province of Portugal, having a small Portuguese military garrison. This included both Cabo Verdean and European Portuguese soldiers.

At the same time, some Cabo Verdeans were serving in the People's Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARP), the military organization of the PAIGC party that was fighting for the joint independence of Guinea and Cape Verde in the Guinea-Bissau War of Independence. The FARP became the national armed forces of Guinea-Bissau, when its independence was recognized by Portugal in 1974.

The Armed Forces of Cape Verde were created when the independence of the country occurred in 1975, being also officially designated as the People's Revolutionary Armed Forces (Forças Armadas Revolucionárias do Povo) or FARP. The Cabo Verdean FARP were made of two independent branches, the Army (Exército) and the Coast Guard (Guarda Costeira).

In the early 1990s, the designation "FARP" was dropped and the military of Cape Verde started to be designated as the Cabo Verdean Armed Forces (Forças Armadas Cabo Verdeanas) or FACV.

In 2007, the FACV started a major reorganization, that included the transformation of the Army into the National Guard (Guarda Nacional).

Together with the Cabo Verdean Police, the FACV carried away Operation Flying Launch (Operacão Lancha Voadora), a major successful operation to try to put an end to a drug trafficking group who smuggled cocaine from Colombia to the Netherlands and Germany and who used Cape Verde as a reorder point. The whole operation took more than three years, being a secret operation during the two first years, being finished in 2010.

Although located in Africa, Cape Verde had always close relations with Europe. Because of this, several opinions defend that Cape Verde may enter the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the NATO.

The most recent engagement of the FACV was the 2016 Cape Verde army mutiny that resulted in 11 deaths.


The Cabo Verdean Armed Forces are part of the Ministry of National Defense of Cape Verde and include:

  • the Military bodies of command:
  • Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces (CEMFA),
  • Office of the CEMFA,
  • Staff of the Armed Forces (EMFA),
  • Personnel Command,
  • Logistics Command;
  • the National Guard;
  • the Coast Guard.
  • The CEMFA is Colonel, being the highest rank officer of the Armed Forces.

    National Guard

    The National Guard (Guarda National) is the main branch of the Cabo Verdean Armed Forces for the military defense of the country, being responsible for the execution of land and maritime environment operations and the support to internal security. It includes:

  • Territorial commands:
  • 1st Military Region Command,
  • 2nd Military Region Command,
  • 3rd Military Region Command;
  • Corps:
  • Military Police Corps,
  • Marine Corps,
  • Artillery Corps.
  • There is not a general command of the National Guard. Each military region command is headed by a Lieutenant-Colonel directly subordinate to the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces and includes units of the three corps.

    Coast Guard

    The Coast Guard (Guarda Costeira) is the branch of the Cabo Verdean Armed Forces responsible for the defense and protection of the country's economical interests at the sea under national jurisdiction and for providing air and naval support to land and amphibious operations. It includes:

  • Coast Guard Command
  • Maritime Security Operations Center (COSMAR)
  • Naval Squadron
  • Air Squadron
  • The Coast Guard is headed by an officer with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. The Naval and Air Squadrons incorporate, respectively, all the vessels and aircraft of the Cabo Verdean Armed Forces.

    Light weapons

  • AKM
  • RPD
  • RPG-7
  • MG3
  • M16
  • AK-47
  • Heckler & Koch G3
  • RPK
  • PK machine gun
  • SKS
  • SVD
  • Makarov PM
  • Armored vehicles

  • Some T-545 100mm MBTs– servicability unknown
  • 10 BRDM-2
  • Artillery

  • 6 120-PM-43 mortar
  • 12 75MM
  • 12 76MM
  • 12 82MM
  • Anti-aircraft

  • 18ZPU-1
  • ZU-23-2
  • 50 SA-7
  • Aircraft

    The Cabo Verdean Army used to have its own air arm; after personnel training received from the USSR in 1982, three Antonov An-26 aircraft were delivered to Cape Verde – these were believed to be the only military aircraft possessed by the nation. However these three aircraft were supplemented in 1991 by a Dornier Do 228 light aircraft equipped for use by the Coast Guard, and, in the late 1990s by an EMB-110 aircraft from Brazil, similarly equipped for maritime operations. The government has been in negotiations with China to acquire multirole helicopters for both military and civilian use.


  • 1 Kondor I patrol craft – 360 tons full load – commissioned 1970
  • 1 Peterson MK 4 patrol craft – 22 tons – commissioned 1993
  • 1 other patrol craft – 55 tons
  • References

    Cape Verdean Armed Forces Wikipedia

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