The Coup Phenomenon in Africa: Contexts and Interpretations

The army appears to be the only force available to meet African demands for change and to defend the country’s sovereignty and independence. However, this military institution finds itself drained of political functions that it may not be qualified to perform.

The coup is considered as the forced or forcible replacement of civilians in power by military elements. It is usually a sudden, unexpected, violent, and illegal movement that requires high skill in implementation, and aims to change the governing executive bodies. In sum, the coup is an unconstitutional mechanism to seize power.

The wave of coups spread in Africa with the independence of these countries; The number of coup attempts reached more than 200, and more than 50% of them were successful, and most of them led to the displacement of rulers and the disruption of the constitution. Statistics indicate that there are 27 countries in Africa that have known military coups (1) .

In this paper, we will try to approach the phenomenon according to content that takes into account the data related to the justifications and contexts of the coup phenomenon in Africa, indicators of development failure, as well as the future consequences of the coup phenomenon in light of the failure of the important roles of international and regional organizations to curb the coup tide.

The narrative of coups in Africa or the susceptibility to coup d’état (2)

When approaching the coup phenomenon in the African continent, the researcher will find himself in front of multiple epistemological and epistemological labyrinths, in which the historical and the security, the military, the economic, cultural and social are intertwined.

The profane continent, as indicated by the media literature, is still vulnerable to an epidemic of coups, a phrase that the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, made after the increase in its anger during the past two years, after the stability of anxiety that did not last long. The continent, most of whose countries still record the highest rates of state failure and corruption, is also confirmed by the economic approach that the Indian economist Amartya Sen, the Nobel laureate, said, linking development, security and democracy, indicators that are still fragile at the present time.

The coup phenomenon in Africa can only be included in security and peace studies, which are those studies that seriously attempt to touch on the variables and problems of peace and the mechanisms for its settlement according to studied stages and steps. So that peace becomes the ultimate goal of a continent living on the impact of bloody fighting and ethnic cleansing. International bets also see that Africa is the focus of the empowerment strategy for great and emerging powers in the twenty-first century, which is called the new scramble towards Africa, or the neo-colonialism of Africa, most of whose countries are still living in the state of post-colonial societies.

The geography of coups in Africa indicates that the Sahel region constitutes an incubator environment for the coup; Being the epicenter of all kinds of threats linked to the arms and drug trade, organized crime and clandestine immigration.

Of the 25 successful coups in Africa since 1990, 20 have occurred in West African countries, 12 in the Sahel and 8 in the Gulf of Guinea. The frequency of coups in the Sahel seems likely to increase. In the years following the year 2010, it was found that 6 coups occurred in the countries of the African Sahel, compared to two coups in the Gulf of Guinea. Thus, the phenomenon of coups appears to be concentrated in the Sahel more than in other regions (3) .

The concept of the coup highlights a legal and constitutional problem, as it indicates – according to constitutional law experts, including Professor Tariq al-Bishri – that the armed forces moved under the banner of preserving the security of the state and its existing system. However, these coups achieve the opposite of what they declared as their goal, as they become a basis for the demolition of the state and its system, and the establishment of another regime that perpetuates corruption in all parts of the state. The coup is usually marketed as a correction of a situation, a reform of a system, and an opportunity to emerge from a political crisis. Whatever slogan is raised, the coup remains a behavior that is based on force, and establishes a reality, but does not confer legitimacy. There is a difference between the fait accompli based on compulsion and fear, and the legitimate order, which is that the judgment stems from the will of the governed, and that the right remains a moral and legal value that is available to the citizen without compulsion or fear (4) .

In the opinion of the editor-in-chief of the American National Review, Jay Nordlinger, the military coup is a deliberate act, intended to achieve specific goals, taking into account the risks involved in this action. It is also defined as the seizure of power through unconstitutional means, and is characterized by surprise and the use of force, with the support of the military, part of the political class and civil society. It differs from the revolution in that the latter is characterized by being of a popular and mass character, while the coup is carried out by a limited number of individuals who are usually affiliated with the military establishment (5) .

The concept of coup has been subjected to a great state of politicization by researchers and academics in this regard, especially African and Arab researchers who have resorted to creating wishful justification formulas to give softer concepts, which is included in wishful epistemological analysis. What is considered a coup in its constitutional form, others see as a revolutionary correction, and a natural case for the stampede of the ruling elites, and it is a fatal academic mistake whose repercussions are still eroding the African academic body.

Some researchers, including Ahmed Amal, a professor of political science at the Faculty of Higher African Studies at Cairo University, point to the contribution of the high analytical value of the concept of the coup, which was manifested by the emergence of the concept of “military interventionism” as a growing trend in developing countries around the world. Many writings also presented other conceptual alternatives, such as “military engagement,” which means military intervention in politics, whether in the hands of members of the official or “traditional” military establishment, or in the hands of any military forces of a “special” or “unconventional” nature. “. On the other side of the practice, alternative concepts such as the military takeover of power have emergedWhich the US administration resorted to in describing the decisions taken by General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, Chairman of the Sudanese Sovereign Council, on the twenty-fifth of October 2021, which included the dismissal of the Transitional Council of Ministers, which exempted the United States from the negative repercussions of describing what It happened in Sudan with a coup, at a time when it needs to keep a number of channels of cooperation open to ensure its strategic interests in this country.

In recent years, the African continent has witnessed dramatic transformations that upset all expectations. In less than two years, the brown continent witnessed seven coups, and a number of failed attempts, the most recent of which was the attempt by soldiers in Guinea-Bissau to overthrow the rule of President Amaru Sissoko Embalo, in which Admiral Jose Americo is accused, in early February 2022, which is He had precedents in coups and the liberation revolution in Guinea, in addition to his involvement in sponsoring drug trafficking groups in Guinea-Bissau. Six people were killed in this coup attempt in a 5-hour exchange of fire.

The number of coups has exceeded more than 200 attempts during the past six decades, and most of them succeeded in controlling the government. The researcher Hamdi Abdel Rahman, who specializes in African affairs, identifies the reasons for the return of coups in the following factors:

1. The deteriorating security situation : The coups witnessed in West Africa, especially in the countries of the Sahel, are characterized by a common denominator, which is the lack of security and the rising tide of violent terrorist groups. In northern Mali, jihadist groups have expanded their presence towards the center in recent years, in the so-called “triangle border” region where the borders of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger intersect. The attacks were concentrated on security and military institutions, but they also included civilian targets and objects.

Since 2015, Burkina Faso has faced terrorist attacks by extremist groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda, which have claimed many victims and displaced more than 1.5 million people. Since then, the security situation has deteriorated sharply, which is perhaps a strong justification for the intervention of the military in order to overthrow a powerless civilian regime.

At the seventh edition of the Dakar International Forum on “Peace and Security in Africa”, held in December 2021, the President of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, attributed the chaotic situation in the Sahel region to the rise of terrorist groups against the backdrop of the crisis in Libya. It is likely that the state’s inability to deal with terrorist groups and poor governance are among the main reasons that explain the return of the revolutionary pattern in Africa.

2. The failure of the Western model : It is clear that Western conditionality has emptied African democracy of its essence, and it seems that the return of coups in Africa reveals the failure of that conditional policy. Democracy is not a ready-made “recipe” that can be applied to everyone. There is a different cultural and social context in African countries.

In contrast, the army appears to be the only force available to meet African demands for change and to defend the sovereignty and independence of the state. However, this military institution finds itself drained of political functions that it may not be qualified to perform.

3. The Army as the “Protector of the Nation”: At the end of 2010, popular protests erupted in North African countries, and the peoples of the region rose up against authoritarian regimes and an economy on the verge of collapse. However, the ruling elites moved in the wrong direction. Instead of achieving sustainable development in the post-independence phase, we find that they are laying the foundations of a patriarchal system, based on networks of political clientelism and corrupt practices.

In Mali, for example, when the population was tired of the political system, which sometimes came with a popular mandate, the army’s intervention met with an overwhelming popular response, which indicates that the army’s action came in response to the stalemate by creating a breakthrough in the political impasse (6) .

Inversions between internal and external

Security studies indicate that it is rare for coups to take place without notifying foreign intelligence services; Where the revolutionaries themselves contact foreign powers to reassure them of the interests of their countries and to obtain logistical, military and international support. It notes the close interdependence between the former colonizer and the revolutionary forces; It was noted that the French military cooperation, as the most nested colonialism in Africa, with the rebels of the coup movements.

It is possible to refer to the international contexts that created the conditions for the revival of the coup epidemic, which are as follows:

  • The fledgling democracy stumbled, and its failure to achieve the expectations and successes that African peoples were waiting for, despite the short experience, in addition to its lack of reasons and factors of care and promotion.
  • The spread of corruption in the ruling classes, and the lack of justice in development at the geographical or ethnic level, or what is known as justice in the distribution of power and wealth, with the lack of deterrence and decisiveness for such a phenomenon.
  • Security challenges and internal and external conflicts, which weaken the structure of systems and drain already scarce resources.
  • The lack of respect for democratic charters, and the resort of many African presidents to civilians to extend their terms of office, which tempts the military and gives them the legitimacy of coups.
  • The great popular support for a number of coups, their acceptance, or their acquiescence to them when they occur, especially those that tried to beautify themselves through promises of a return to democracy and civilian rule.
  • The image in which the new generation of coups presents itself as a pioneer of reform, keen on national sovereignty, custodian of peoples and their capabilities, and protector of their borders, which delights large segments of Africans seeking security and stability.
  • Western regimes stand idly by, except for some temporary condemnations of this behavior, which realize – according to various UN reports – that authoritarian regimes in Africa are responsible for more than 75 percent of the conflicts that occur on the continent, forced migration and food crises.
  • The spread of fragility in the countries of the coup, according to reports by Foreign Policy, and the resulting political failure and tension in civil-military relations.
  • The coup contagion that the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, spoke about, who spoke of this phenomenon that spread from the east of the continent to the west in the form of contagion. In this regard, the Mali coup on August 1, 2021, and the actions that followed it can be described as a model for the rest of the coups. It followed in Chad, April 2021, Guinea, September 2021, Sudan, October 2021, and Burkina Faso, January 2022, in addition to several failed attempts (7) .

The Eritrean researcher, Mohamed Abdelkader, believes that the African continent is faced with a number of scenarios in addressing the coup phenomenon, oscillating between the consolidation of the power of the putschists, for example: Guinea’s refusal to apply ECOWAS sanctions on Mali. Or the second scenario related to counter-coups, a scenario that is likely to be repeated every time, and the popular explosion that may occur at any moment when crises accumulate so that the political movement overlaps with security and military. And the last scenario related to the political transition towards democracy and the holding of transparent and fair elections (8) .

The international failure is evident in obliging the coup authorities to the standards of democratic transition. Coups – according to the Western system – are quiet objective calculations that look at reaping benefits in exchange for costs and gains, as they include power and unbridled access to resources. Consequently, the attractiveness of coups is much stronger than the influence of international sanctions. Therefore, the coup leaders believe that they can evade sanctions, and they firmly believe that international institutions can deal with the de-facto authority according to a pragmatic and abhorrent vision.

In this regard, Professor Joseph Siegel, researcher and director of research at the African Center for Strategic Studies in the American capital, Washington, believes that the other aspect of providing incentives to democrats in Africa is the need to constantly impose real costs on the coup makers; Those who seize power outside the law should not be recognized, and financial aid should be suspended, with debt relief suspended. The assets of the coup leaders must be frozen, and they must be denied access to the international financial system. Governments emanating from the coup should be denied access to sovereign accounts. The researcher, Siegel, also stresses the necessity of reversing the coup first, and then negotiating, and not the other way around (9) .

The African Union and the search for punitive effectiveness

Since the establishment of the Organization of African Unity, in 1963 (which will become the African Union, in 2001), this continental body has adopted clear positions on the issue of unconstitutional coups. Indeed, when changing the name to the African Union, the Union dealt with the issue of coups rigorously. Article 30 of the Federation’s Constitutive Act states that governments that access power by unconstitutional means are not allowed to participate in the Federation’s activities.

Adopted by the African Union in 2000, the “Lomé Declaration” rejects unconstitutional changes of government (a military coup against a democratically elected government), supported by other regional bodies and the 2007 African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

The AU Peace and Security Council noted that the unconstitutional changes of governments arose from mismanagement of diversity, authoritarianism and corruption, and unwillingness to accept electoral defeat.

At the same time, the charters of the African Union failed to prevent coups due to weak legislation and poor compliance with existing legislation. At the Harare Summit, 1997, the African Union passed a resolution condemning the coups, and at the Algiers Summit, 1999, it issued a declaration banning summits from leaders who seized power by coup.

The African Union has exercised the authority to suspend membership against countries in which unconstitutional change has taken place about 14 times since 2003, but under international and regional pressures, and the lack of deterrent legislation and institutions, the Union retracts every time from its positions, and works to integrate the upside down as if they had not committed any crime, which is the biggest The temptations of the military to overthrow the regimes under any pretext, as long as the road is clear and they have a thousand ways to escape punishment.

The 2007 African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance constitutes a strong support for the legal system governing the AU’s response to unconstitutional changes and considers it a serious threat to peace, security and development. The charter defines the illegal means of gaining power, which are as follows:

  1. Every seizure of power or military coup against democratically elected governments.
  2. Every intervention by mercenaries to replace a democratically elected government.
  3. Every intervention by groups of armed dissidents or rebel movements to overthrow a democratically elected government.
  4. Every refusal by a government to hand over power to a winning party or candidate in a free and fair election.
  5. Any amendment or revision of constitutions and legal documents in a manner that contradicts the principles of democratic rotation of power.

The African Security Council is the legal mechanism through which the African Union deals with any unconstitutional changes; Whereas Article 7 of the Protocol provides in its first paragraph that the Council is given the power to impose sanctions when there is an unconstitutional change of government, but the African Security Council faces great difficulties in acquiescing the military establishment in many African countries and their submission to hand over power to a civilian government; Sometimes, the military uniform of the putschists is replaced by the civilian uniform, which made the African Union treat the new government as a de-facto authority.

Therefore, the African Union must make fundamental amendments in its Basic Law to give the procedures a mandatory and deterrent character, and to prevent the recurrence of the coup against the Constitution and civil rule (10) .

There is a difficult problem in recognizing the democratic transition process, the issue of building the ruling elite in Africa, and its relationship to the transformation taking place in the continent. The data indicate that about ten presidents, each of whom served a term of up to 15 years, a peg that usually constituted a justification for many of those behind the coup in some of these countries. According to a 2018 analysis by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies ( ACSS ), only less than 40% of African countries have constitutional term limits on presidential term limits, and only 15 presidents have stepped down after completing two terms (11) .

On the other hand, peace building in Africa faces a severe problem. Reducing the coup requires building peace, and the latter stands without it many obstacles, the most important of which are:

The complexity and length of conflicts and disputes; Scientific research data indicates that the probability of any country returning to the cycle of violence within five years of the end of the conflict is about 40%.

– External players who always seek to participate in peace building activities, and they often lack a deep familiarity with the local environment, and peace building plans in local areas.

– The pervasive nature of conflicts and the availability of elements that fuel internal crises, which we have observed in the resurgence of some conflicts such as the Tigray region in Ethiopia and in South Sudan, for example.

The obstructive link with international financial institutions, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and the tying up of these donor agencies by debts to African countries (12) .

Security companies in Africa and the predicament of coups

The role of security companies is a prominent factor in the dilemma of armed conflicts, and the periodic revolutions that result from them in Africa. Private security companies have become a serious source of national security threat in the absence of the necessary legal framework to control their role and supervise their activities. One of the repercussions of this is the conflict with the state’s competencies, as reliance on private security companies has led to the creation of a state of dependence; Because it performs security functions that local authorities are unable to perform.

The authors: Visiting Associate Professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar and an expert on African military conflicts, Herbert Howe , and historian Martin van Creveld , explain that state weakness poses a security problem linked to the issue of terrorism, and that state weakness poses a security problem related to the issue of terrorism, and that The fragile and weak state has contributed greatly to the proliferation of security companies, and many armed and deadly conflicts and conflicts have taken place on the African continent.

Security companies in Africa generate a business of up to $20 billion a year with a total annual revenue of $360 billion. The most important private security companies operating in Africa and related to armed conflicts can be identified as follows:

– Pacific Architects and Engineers = PAE , which was founded in 1955 as a construction company, but was repurchased in 2006 by businessman, Lockeed Martin , who is considered a supplier to the US Department of Defense . This company plays an important role in the field of intelligence for embassies, as well as logistical support.

The Architecture, Engineering, Consulting, Operations, and Maintenance = AECOM company, which provides services for emerging institutions, catering for peacekeeping, security and monitoring services in conflict areas, and is managed by US officials.

Military Professional Resources Inc. , which provided military training services to African countries, specifically Senegal, Malawi, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Benin and Rwanda.

Northrop Grumman , which secured a $75 million contract to build 40,000 peacekeepers in Africa over five years.

– Kellogg Brown and Roots = kbr , which provides its services in three bases in Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia in cooperation with the operational forces of the US military forces in the Horn of Africa.

Studies and reports indicate the intrusive role of private security companies in Sierra Leone. The government in Freetown has ceded in favor of private security companies, which have become directly responsible for the exploitation of mines and precious metals, which explains the unwillingness of these companies to end the conflict.

Private security companies, especially Dothan Security Inc. ( DSI = Dothan Security Inc ), played a negative role in prolonging the conflict in Angola, not to mention the large and negative role played by Defense System Africa in the Republic of the Congo. Democracy (formerly Zaire), especially after the end of the Mobutu Sese Seko regime. Security companies have played an increasing role in the crises of Central Africa, the Republic of Mali and the Gulf of Guinea regions (13) .

Research reports indicate that private security companies have contributed significantly to prolonging the conflict, by recruiting African mercenaries who intervene in the conflict areas in a bloody and crude manner, in cooperation and intelligence coordination with the former colonial countries, as well as recruiting mercenaries from Eastern Europe, specifically from Russia and Serbia. To intervene to protect vital and energy areas, mines production and exploitation areas, and precious metals.

Data on private security companies show that many of their chiefs hold several nationalities, including Israeli citizenship, including some Mossad recruits on whom Israel relies on ensuring increased Israeli support and presence on the African continent, even if at the expense of the democratic principles it praises.

In this regard, a study conducted by Walid Abdel Hai, a professor of future studies on the Israeli penetration in Africa, indicates that the head of the Mossad, David Barnea, who took office in 2021, attaches importance to the African continent and works to deepen the activities of his agency in various African countries. Especially as he was responsible for the department of recruiting agents for the Mossad in various regions of the world. This means that the recruitment of clients on the African continent will increase significantly in the near future.

Zwillel Mandela, one of the grandsons of the African leader, Nelson Mandela, reveals the ways of Israeli penetration into the African continent; By providing dictatorial regimes in Africa with tools of espionage, and supplying separatist rebellions with weapons under the cover of agricultural tools, as well as fueling civil wars with the aim of penetrating African societies, and provides examples of this in the events of Rwanda, South Sudan, Cameroon, Uganda, Togo, and Equatorial Guinea, It is known that Israel ranks eighth in the world in arms sales, with a rate equivalent to 3.1% of total arms sales at the international level.

The Israeli focus is sometimes on the security units of African presidents, for example, the President of the Republic of Congo Brazzaville, Pascal Lissouba, in 1994, hired an Israeli officer from the Israeli private security companies, to establish and train his own guard and dismantle the guard of the former president. In Angola, studies of private security companies indicate that most of the security companies in Angola are Israeli companies, which secure the diamond trade, provide security for the Angolan president, and help arrange arms deals from a third party, in addition to securing specific needs for the armed forces (14) .

Together, these elements make the African continent captive to supra-state factors that could affect the course of conflict and stability on the African continent, including private security companies, and the innocuous role of regional and international parties, including the pattern of Israeli penetration.

How to get the military institution out of the quagmire of coups to the circle of professionalism?

The military establishment has always constituted the hard core in the process of political change, whether it was in the form of a democratic political transformation or in the form of an armed revolutionary movement.

In exceptional and very special cases, the army constituted a neutral case in the political process in Africa, a situation that the French researcher, Zoltan Barani, calls the great silent ( la grande muette ), an expression used in the case of the military institution’s distance from managing public affairs (15) .

There are several explanatory and influential factors that determine the army’s decisions regarding the change processes, and the matter is related to the military factors that are determined in turn by a number of indicators, the most important of which are the internal cohesion of the military institution, ethnic and tribal divisions, generational divisions between senior and junior officers, and divisions between officers and conscripts, in addition to the divisions that It is formed between the army and other branches of the security services, as well as the army’s behavior towards society, especially the elements that make up the social and political past, in addition to the political system’s dealings with the military institution, not to mention the volume of demands for change and the possibility of an external role in the decision-making of the military institution.

Building professional armies is a process that depends on absorbing a set of rules and principles related to the quality and efficiency of professional elements, the extent to which African armies are subordinate to civilian authority and an indicator of political neutrality.

Some experts identify the priorities for building African professional armies by reviewing the powers of the armed forces, from preparing defining tasks, focusing on training and training, supporting the efficiency of the soldier, and not politicizing the environment in which the armed forces operate by defining the roles of military and civilian actors and establishing partnerships with civil society and the international community, in addition to the importance of strengthening Institutionalizing ethics and accountability and strengthening military discipline by strengthening the sense of duty (16) .

About the author


strong tenderness

Professor Bouhniya Kaoui, Algerian researcher and writer.REFERENCE

(1)-Number of coups in Africa, Radio Canada of January 19, 2019 (Seen September 15, 2022):

( 2 )For more information on the relationship between security, development and freedom, see: Emirates Sun, Development is freedom: free institutions and a person free from ignorance, disease and underdevelopment, translated by Shawqi Jalal, Knowledge World Kuwait, May 2004, No. 303.

( 3 )Ahmed Amal, Deconstructing the narrative of the return of coups in Africa, Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, March 14, 2022, (entry date: September 10, 2022):

( 4 )Samir Hamdi, Reading in the Logic of Military Coups, Arabic 21, September 20, 2014, (entry date: September 14, 2022):

( 5 )Djilali Fatima and Abdel Momen Majdoub, Suspension of Participation in the African Union as a Mechanism to Limit the Coup Phenomenon, Journal of Political Books and Law, Vol. 14, No. 1, Year 2022, pp. 469-482.

( 6 )Hamdi Abdel Rahman, Mechanisms for curbing the return of military coups in Africa, Future Publications for Advanced Research and Studies, February 9, 2022, (entry date: September 14, 2022):

( 7 )Mohamed Saleh Omar, The Return of Coups to the Fore in Africa: Who Will Stop the Fall of Dominoes?, Al Jazeera Net, February 5, 2022, (entry date: September 10, 2022):

( 8 )Abdel Qader Mohamed Ali, The Wave of Coups in Sub-Saharan Africa: Common Factors and Scenarios, Al Jazeera Center for Studies, February 7, 2022, (access date: September 14, 2022):

( 9 )Joseph Siegel: Africa’s Coups and the Role of External Parties, Africa Center for Strategic Studies, January 3, 2022, (date of entry: September 14, 2022):

(10)Jilali Fatima and Majdoub Abdel Momen, previous reference.

(11)Hamdi Abdel Rahman, Democratic Transition and the Impotence of the Ruling Elites in Africa: Contrasting Paths, African Readings Magazine, July 2018, p. 32.

(12)For more information, read: Hani Suleiman, “Opportunities and Challenges”: Building Peace in Africa in the Era of Global Turmoil, in: “Bahniyyah Strong, Gebolotica of the African Continent,” Dar Al-Hamid, Jordan, p. 287.

(13)For more information, read: Mohamed Al-Saleh Gamal, Privatizing Security in Africa: The New Role of Private Security Companies in Managing Armed Conflicts, Arab Knowledge Office, first edition, Cairo, 2020.

(14)Walid Abdel Hai, The Israeli Security Penetration in Sub-Saharan Africa, Al-Zaytouna Center for Studies and Consultations, August 1, 2022, (access date: September 15, 2022):

(15)Zoltan Barani, How do armies respond to revolutions?, translated by Abdel Rahman Ayyash, The Arab Network for Research and Publishing, Beirut, 2017.

(16)Emile Ouedrago, African armies and the challenge of military professionalism, translated by Ahmed Al-Murabiti, African Readings Magazine, No. 37, July 2018, pp. 120-133.

Appendices to the research paper:

Appendix 1: Chronology of the most notable coups during the last ten years:

  • Mali: On March 22, 2012, the military overthrew the regime of Amadou Toumani Toure. A National Committee for the Advancement of Democracy and the Reconstruction of the State headed by Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo dissolved the institutions.
  • Guinea-Bissau: On April 12, 2012, a military coup disrupted the electoral process two weeks before the second round of presidential elections. The putschists, led by General Antonio Indjai, deposed Raimundo Pereira and his prime minister.
  • Burkina Faso: On September 17, 2015, less than a year after the fall of Blaise Compaore, who was ousted by a popular uprising, President Michel Kafando, led by an elite army unit, was overthrown by a coup d’état, and he was reinstated a week later, following an agreement between loyalist soldiers and putschists.
  • Zimbabwe: On November 21, 2017, President Robert Mugabe (93 years old) – at the time, the oldest president in the world – was forced to resign, prompted by the army, his party and street pressure, at the conclusion of a week of crisis, while the National Assembly was considering his dismissal. .
  • Mali: On August 18, 2020, the president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, was ousted after a few months of political crisis. The military coup led to the imposition of international sanctions, which were lifted after the formation of a transitional government, with the aim of handing over power to civilians within 18 months.
  • Chad: On April 20, 2021, the day after the death of President Idriss Deby, a transitional military council headed by the son of the late president, Mohamed Idriss Deby, who was then commander of the Presidential Guard, dissolved the government and the National Assembly. Then Déby promised the “son” new institutions after “free and democratic” elections within a year and a half. General Deby did not rule out recently extending the transition by 18 months unless “certain conditions” are met.
  • Mali: On May 24, 2021, the military arrested the president and prime minister after appointing a new transitional government to their dismay. In June, Colonel Asimi Gueta was installed as interim president.
  • Guinea: On September 5, 2021, President Alpha Condé was overthrown by a military coup. The putschists, led by Colonel Mamady Domboya, promised to hold national “consultations” with the aim of achieving a political transition entrusted to a “national unity government”.
  • Burkina Faso: On January 23, 2022, rebel soldiers seized the military base in the capital, Ouagadougou, and arrested President Christian Kabore. On January 24, the military announced on television that Kabore had been removed from the presidency. After the announcement, the army announced the dissolution of parliament and the government and the suspension of the constitution. On January 31, the junta announced the reinstatement of the constitution, and the appointment of the coup leader, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sanogo Damiba, as interim president.

Appendix No. 3: Clarifies armed conflicts in Africa after the end of the Cold War

Source : Privatizing Security in Africa, Muhammad Al-Saleh Jamal, previous reference, p. 123, adapted by:

Algeria1992-1998 Anti-terror years
Central African Republic1996-1998، 2000-2001، 2005-
Democratic Republic of the Congo1996-1997، 1998-
Republic of the Congo1997-2000
Côte d’Ivoire2002-
Liberia1989-1996، 1997-2003
Sierra Leone1991-2002
SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

I hold a bachelor's degree in political science and international relations as well as a Master's degree in international security studies, alongside a passion for web development. During my studies, I gained a strong understanding of key political concepts, theories in international relations, security and strategic studies, as well as the tools and research methods used in these fields.

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