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Cape Verdean Armed Forces

Cape Verdean Armed Forces
Forças Armadas Cabo Verdeanas
Service branches Coast Guard
National Guard
Commander-in-ChiefJosé Maria Pereira Neves
Minister of National DefenseJanine Tatiana dos Santos Lélis
Chief of StaffMajor general Anildo Emanuel da Graça Morais
Military age18
Conscription14 months
Active personnel1,200
Budget$11.2 million (2018)[1]
Percent of GDP0.6% (2018)[1]
Foreign suppliers China
 United States
Related articles
RanksMilitary ranks of Cape Verde

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


Cape Verdean Marines

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

At the same time, some Cape Verdeans were serving in the People's Revolutionary Armed Forces (Forças Armadas Revolucionarias do Povo, FARP), the military wing of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde 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 country became independent in 1975, being also officially designated the People's Revolutionary Armed Forces (Forças Armadas Revolucionarias do Povo, FARP). The Cape Verdean FARP consisted 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 was designated the Cape Verdean Armed Forces (Forças Armadas Cabo Verdeanas, 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 Cape Verdean Police, the FACV carried out Operation Flying Launch (Operacão Lancha Voadora), a successful operation to put an end to a drug trafficking group which smuggled cocaine from Colombia to the Netherlands and Germany using Cape Verde as a reorder point. The operation took more than three years, being a secret operation during the first two years, and ended in 2010.

Although located in Africa, Cape Verde has always had close relations with Europe. Because of this, it has been argued that Cape Verde may be eligible for entry into the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and NATO.[2]

The most recent engagement of the FACV was the Monte Tchota massacre that resulted in 11 deaths.[3]


The Cape 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
    • Office of the CEMFA
    • Staff of the Armed Forces (EMFA)
    • Personnel Command
    • Logistics Command
  • the National Guard
  • the Coast Guard

National Guard

Military Police in Mindelo

The National Guard (Guarda National) is the main branch of the Cape 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 no 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

Coast Guard patrol vessel Guardião (P511), in manoeuvres with a British frigate

The Coast Guard (Guarda Costeira) is the branch of the Cape Verdean Armed Forces responsible for the defense and protection of the country's economic 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 Cape Verdean Armed Forces.


The rank insignia for commissioned officers for the national guard and coast guard.[4]

Rank group General / flag officers Senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
Cape Verde Cape Verdean National Guard[5]
Major-general Brigadeiro-general Coronel Tenente-coronel Major Capitão Primeiro tenente Tenente Subtenente
 Cape Verdean Coast Guard[6]
Capitão–de–mar Capitão–de–navio Capitão-de–patrulha Capitão-tenente Primeiro-tenente Tenente Guarda-marinha

The rank insignia of enlisted for the national guard and coast guard.

Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
Cape Verde Cape Verdean National Guard[5]
No insignia
Sargento-mor Sargento-chefe Sargento-principal Primeiro-sargento Segundo-sargento Sargento Furriel Instruendo curso de sargento Cabo-principal Cabo de Secção Cabo-adjunto Primeiro-cabo Segundo-cabo Instruendo curso de cabo Soldado

 Cape Verdean Coast Guard[6]
Sargento-mor Sargento-chefe Sargento-principal Primeiro-sargento Segundo-sargento Furriel Segundo-furriel Cabo-principal Cabo de secção Cabo-adjunto Primeiro-cabo Segundo-cabo


Armored vehicles




Dornier 228 of the Cape Verdean Coast Guard
Patrol boat Tainha (P 262)

The Cape 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.[8] However these three aircraft were supplemented in 1991 by a Dornier 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.

Current Inventory

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Maritime patrol
CASA C-212 Spain SAR/Maritime patrol 1[9] Flown for the Coast Guard
Dornier 228 Germany SAR/Maritime patrol 2[9] Flown for the Coast Guard
Harbin Z-9 China SAR/Utility 2[9] Flown for the Coast Guard



  1. ^ a b Military Balance 2019. IISS. 2019. p. 458.
  2. ^ "sprungbrett-nach-westafrika".
  3. ^ "Eleven shot dead in Cape Verde, including two Spanish citizens". Reuters. 2016-04-27. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  4. ^ "Anexo A". Boletim Oficial (in Portuguese). 1 (4): 132–137. 18 January 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Patente". (in Portuguese). Cape Verdean Armed Forces. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Anexo A". Boletim Oficial (in Portuguese). 1 (4). Government of Cape Verde: 133–136. 18 January 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e f International Institute for Strategic Studies (2021). The Military Balance. p. 455. ISBN 9781032012278.
  8. ^ * World Aircraft Information Files. Brightstar Publishing, London. File 337 Sheet 02
  9. ^ a b c "Aircraft Used List Cape Verde Coast Guard". 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Stan Patrol 5009 "Guardiao"". Damen. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  • Further reading: Defense Intelligence Agency, Military Intelligence Summary - Africa South of the Sahara, DDB 2680-104-85, ICOD 15 October 1984, declassified by letter dated April 29, 2014.
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Cape Verdean Armed Forces
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