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FACTBOX – Recent coups in Africa

August 30, 2023 at 3:32 pm

Officers from Department of Public Security (DSP) patrol as supporters of the military administration gather on a street after Gabonese army officers enter the national television building following the announcement of the presidential election results and announce that they take over, in Libreville, Gabon on August 30, 2023 [Stringer/Anadolu Agency]

Africa has witnessed eight coups in the last three years, with the latest military take-over announced in Gabon, Wednesday, only a month after a military intervention in Niger ousted the president.

Senior military officers in Gabon staged a coup in the Central African country on Wednesday, saying they seized power after President Ali Bongo was declared winner in Saturday’s election for a third term in office.

Appearing on national television, the military cancelled the election results that declared Bongo, who has been in power for over a decade, the winner with 64.27 per cent of the votes.

They also announced that the 64-year-old leader was put under house arrest and one of his sons was arrested for “treason.”


On 26 July, military officers in Niger, led by Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, a former Commander of the presidential guard, carried out a military intervention, ousting President Mohamed Bazoum. The military has since held Bazoum hostage, despite international calls for his release.

READ: Gabon military stages coup and cancels election result


The military in Sudan ousted President Omar Al-Bashir on 11 April, 2019, after months of protests following increased prices of goods – including fuel and bread. Al-Bashir had ruled Sudan for nearly 30 years.

A power-sharing agreement was reached between the Army and civilians, but they later refused to hand over power.

On 25 October, 2021, Sudan experienced another military takeover when Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, who headed the power-sharing deal, seized power, citing infighting between military and civilians.

Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, Chad

In Burkina Faso, the army ousted and detained President Roch Kabore on 23 January, 2022, leading to two other coups.

In neighbouring Mali, the military overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, 75, before the country witnessed a second coup on 24 May, 2021, when Col. Assimi Goita dismissed the transitional civilian president and prime minister.

There was also a military coup in Guinea on 5 September, 2021, when the army overthrew President Alpha Conde. In April 2021, the Chadian Army installed Gen. Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno as interim president, after the death of his father, Idriss Deby. The opposition said the move was tantamount to a coup.

Sultan Kakuba, a Political Science professor at Kyambogo University in Uganda, told Anadolu in a recent interview that military coups had been common in Africa for many years after independence, but they became increasingly rare in the past two decades.

He said poor leadership and economic hardships in some countries have influenced military leaders to seize power.

Kakuba opined that Africa has been consolidating democracy, but the coups are pushing it behind.

READ: The scramble for the Global South: Foreign domination or self-sufficiency?

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