Timeline Of Recent Coups In Africa

These events underscore the persistent challenges that African nations face in establishing and maintaining democratic political systems.

african coups Coups in Africa
Guinean coup leader Col. Mamady Doumbouya, center, leaves a meeting with high-level representatives of the Economic Community of West African States in Conakry on September 17, 2021. [AFP/GETTY IMAGES]

Coups in Africa have emerged as a recurring theme in the volatile realm of African politics. Over the past few years, a string of coup d’états has come to the forefront, illuminating the precarious nature of governance and the relentless quest for stability throughout the continent. From Sudan to Burkina Faso and, most recently, in Gabon, these occurrences serve as poignant reminders of the enduring obstacles that African nations grapple with in their pursuit of establishing and upholding democratic political frameworks.

Here’s a timeline of significant coups in Africa in recent years:

2019 Sudanese Coup d’État: On April 11, 2019, Sudan reached a critical turning point when widespread protests demanding the removal of President Omar al-Bashir led to his ouster. Led by Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, the Sudanese Armed Forces intervened, overthrowing the government and the National Legislature. This marked the beginning of a turbulent transition period that spanned two years before an agreement was finally reached.

2020 Malian Coup d’État: On August 18, 2020, a mutiny within the Malian Armed Forces escalated into a full-fledged coup d’état. The detention of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keta resulted in his resignation and the dissolution of the government. This event was especially significant as it marked Mali’s second coup in less than a decade, echoing the turmoil of a similar coup in 2012.

2021 Malian Coup d’État (May): The political landscape of Mali was once again upended on May 24, 2021, as Vice President Assimi Gota led the Malian Army in seizing control, detaining President Bah N’daw, Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, and Minister of Defense Souleymane Doucouré. This marked the nation’s third coup in a span of just 10 years, revealing the deeply rooted challenges to stable governance.

2021 Tunisian Self-Coup: Against the backdrop of anti-Ennahda protests and the strains of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tunisian President Kais Saied executed a self-coup on July 25, 2021. This bold move involved overthrowing the Hichem Mechichi government, suspending the Assembly of Representatives of the People, and revoking its members’ immunity. This action highlighted Tunisia’s precarious political situation.

2021 Guinean Coup d’État: On September 5, 2021, Guinea experienced sudden upheaval as the military detained President Alpha Condé and dissolved the government and constitution. Mamady Doumbouya, leader of the special forces, announced these developments on state television, plunging the nation into uncertainty and marking another instance of political instability.

2021 Sudanese Coup d’État (October): Just weeks after the Guinean coup, Sudan faced another military intervention. On October 25, 2021, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Sudanese military carried out a coup against the country’s government. The detention of numerous high-ranking officials highlighted the nation’s struggle with recurring political turmoil.

January 2022 Burkina Faso Coup d’État: Burkina Faso joined the ranks of nations grappling with political upheaval on January 23, 2022, as a coup unfolded. The military’s announcement on television the following day revealed that President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré had been removed from office, further emphasizing the regional instability.

September 2022 Burkina Faso Coup d’État: In a surprising turn of events, Burkina Faso experienced its second coup in less than a year. On September 30, 2022, Interim President Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba was ousted due to perceived failures in handling the nation’s Islamist insurgency. Captain Ibrahim Traoré assumed temporary leadership, underscoring the nation’s ongoing struggle for stability.

2023 Nigerien Coup d’État: On July 26, 2023, the Republic of Niger faced a significant coup as the presidential guard detained President Mohamed Bazoum. General Abdourahamane Tchiani assumed control of a military junta, highlighting the continued challenges of governance in the region.

2023 Gabonese Coup Attempt: Adding to the timeline of recent coups in Africa, Gabon faced a coup attempt on August 30, 2023. The attempt to overthrow the government was [briefly describe the events of the coup attempt, including who was involved and the outcome]. This incident serves as another reminder of the complex challenges African nations face in their pursuit of stable political systems.’

The recent timeline of coups in Africa serves as a stark reminder of the complex journey that many African nations are on in their pursuit of stable and democratic political systems. These recurring cycles of upheaval and transition emphasize the ongoing struggle to establish effective governance and lasting stability.

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