Gabon Coup Marks Eighth Attempted Takeover in West and Central Africa Since 2020; Region’s Struggle to Overcome Coup Legacy ContinuesThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Aug 30 (Reuters) – Senior military officers in Gabon seized control on national television, announcing the nullification of election results shortly after President Ali Bongo’s declaration of a third term victory.
The coup, if successful, would constitute the eighth such attempt since 2020 across West and Central Africa. Despite progress made over the last decade to distance itself from its reputation as a “coup belt,” the region remains plagued by persistent insecurity and corruption, factors that have provided a foothold for military leaders.
Recent coups in the region include:
In July 2023, Niger’s presidential guard detained President Mohamed Bazoum, claiming to address deteriorating security and governance. The junta appointed Abdourahamane Tiani as the new head of state. This situation raised concerns due to Niger’s importance as a Western ally against al Qaeda and Islamic State-linked insurgencies. ECOWAS has attempted negotiations with the coup leaders, but military intervention remains a possibility.
In January 2022, Burkina Faso’s army ousted President Roch Kabore, attributing the move to his inability to quell Islamist militant violence. Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba led the coup, initially pledging to restore security. However, deteriorating conditions prompted a second coup in September 2022 by Captain Ibrahim Traore.
In September 2021, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya ousted President Alpha Conde. Doumbouya became interim president, promising a transition to democratic elections. ECOWAS imposed sanctions, pushing for a timeline adjustment. While a transition was proposed, opposition parties criticize the lack of progress towards constitutional rule.
In April 2021, Chad’s military took control after President Idriss Deby’s battlefield death. General Mahamat Idriss Deby assumed interim presidency for an 18-month transition. The transfer led to capital riots, and Chad grappled with stability issues.
In August 2020, Malian colonels led by Assimi Goita ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita amid protests over security and corruption. An interim government was established but faced internal tensions, resulting in a second coup in May 2021. Goita assumed the presidency and proposed a two-year transition to democracy. ECOWAS lifted some sanctions, with Mali set for a presidential election in February 2024.