Bissau - Guinea-Bissau's President Jose Mario Vaz has sacked army chief General Antonio Indjai, who was behind a 2012 coup and is wanted by the United States for alleged drug trafficking, officials said.
"General Antonio Indjai has been relieved of his duties as chief of general staff," said a presidential decree signed on Monday and made available on Tuesday to AFP.
A successor to Indjai, who has been in charge of the army since May 2011, was due to be named later Tuesday, a source in the president's office said.
In April 2012, the strongman of the small west African country's influential army overthrew the government of then prime minister Carlos Gomes Junior between the first and second rounds of a presidential election.
Gomes, the presidential candidate of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau (PAIGC), was poised to win that vote, according to observers.
Indjai's coup was followed by a democratic transition process in the troubled country, which led to the election of Vaz as head of state in May 2014.
Succession of coups
Vaz defeated Nuno Gomes Nabiam, widely seen as the favoured candidate of a military hierarchy held to be steeped in trafficking drugs between South America and Europe.
In April 2011, Indjai forcibly removed his predecessor as army chief of staff, Jose Zamora Induta, and placed Gomes Junior under arrest for several hours.
The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considers Guinea-Bissau to be a "narco-state" and in April 13 levelled charges of complicity in narco-terrorism against Indjai.
Other senior officers from the country's armed forces have also been charged with drug trafficking by the United States, including former navy chief Jose Bubo Na Tchuto, who was arrested in a DEA sting and currently awaits trial.
The former Portuguese colony of 1.6 million people has seen a succession of coups since it gained independence in 1974 after a liberation war led by the PAIGC.
In their final report on last May's presidential vote, released last week, an observer mission from the European Union recommended revising the electoral charter to provide for fairer representation of the electorate.
The EU team also proposed that the electoral commission be granted "administrative and budgetary independence".