A former Portuguese colony, Cape Verde is an archipelago of five islets and 10 islands located 370 miles (600 km) west of Senegal off the west coast of Africa. The islands are divided into two groups, Barlavento and Sotavento. Praia, the capital, is located on Santiago, in the southern Sotavento islands.
Cape Verde gained independence from Portugal in 1975, a year after sister colony Guinea-Bissau. A unification plan was scrapped because of the 1980 coup in Guinea-Bissau....
The president is commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The minister of national defense is subordinate to the president. The senior naval officer is the chief of staff of the navy, and the senior army officer is chief of staff of the national guard.
Cape Verde uses a system of selective military conscription that lasts 14 months.
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