With a rusting single-action rifle at his side and a brown militia man's cap on his head, an aging guerrilla peers out from a concrete bunker.
Gazing across peanut fields and off into the horizon, he's a "camarada," or comrade, from Guinea-Bissau's 1960s independence war pressed back into service in this tiny West African nation. A romantic filled with the rhetoric of Cuban hero Ernesto "Che" Guevara, he's back in his element.Decades ago, Portuguese troops were under siege in Bissau, the capital, while peasant guerrillas ruled the countryside. Today, a similar scenario is shaping up with the country's unpopular president, under fire in this brief and tragic war.
In the rice and peanut fields, in sleepy provincial towns, the "camaradas" are riding again.
With Guinea-Bissau's army split between loyalist and rebellious forces in a capital battered with daily artillery fire, the bulk of the soldiers from both sides are camped out in or around the city.
In the countryside, though, security, propaganda and revolutionary rhetoric are left to the "camaradas."
Across the country, from the border with Senegal to the Atlantic coast, the guerrillas are coming out of retirement against their own president, Joao Bernardo Vieira, himself a veteran and hero.
Mamading Tcham, a 64-year-old veteran of the independence war, says he's ready to fight again.
"What we had at the time of war was suffering, but we also had happiness to be free," he says, shuffling to his feet in rubber flip-flop sandals.
Tcham, a part-time security guard and former guerrilla, says his entire former militia regiment from the days of Guinea-Bissau's 14-year war for independence from Portugal has volunteered to fight.
The people, Tcham says, must get rid of Vieira, who many accuse of widespread corruption and mismanagement.
"Nino isn't with the people anymore," he says, using Vieira's nickname. "Brother, we just need some justice."
Tcham, known by his guerrilla nickname "little 49," insists he's able and willing to head back into the forests.
Vieira, a senior commander with the African Party for Independence in Guinea and Cape Verde, or PAIGC, was a vanguard member of the revolution and a chosen favorite to lead the country after independence.
He came to power in 1980, when then-President Luiz Cabral - from the nearby island of Cape Verde - was assassinated during a coup.
Never able to alleviate the country of wrenching poverty, many say that anger began to boil over and target Vieira and his personal fortune.
A groundswell of anti-Vieira sentiment is emerging in much of the nation, where a popular folk song has become the new revolution's anthem.
"We are all in this boat together," folk singer Justino Del Gado's new hit says. "If the boat goes down, Nino, you go down, too."
While most people in Guinea-Bissau make between $150 and $250 a year, Vieira was jetting off for private weekends in Lisbon and Paris.
"You could see it, you would go to the capital and see his fancy cars and his fancy palace," businessman Geraldo Sariot said. "There was never any middle class, only Vieira's riches and the poor. Without a middle class, forget it man, it will blow up."
Blow up it did.
More and more of the army is siding with a former revolutionary hero, Brig. Ansumane Mane, and guerrilla forces are mobilizing throughout the country. Vieira, once a hero in the military, now relies on the support and troops of neighboring Senegal.
What Mane began as a coup attempt earlier this month has spread into a movement by the people.
"I never asked for anything, not a penny," Tcham says. "The only thing I want is to be treated fair."