Atiku says coup in Central, West Africa worrisome, calls for introspection
Former Nigeria vice president Atiku Abubakar said the alarming surge in military takeovers in Central and West Africa is worrisome.
Yesterday, military officers in Gabon said they had taken power and put the president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, under house arrest, as the country became the latest in Africa to suffer an attempted coup, only weeks after mutinous troops seized power in Niger.
In a video apparently from detention at his residence, President Ali Bongo Ondimba called on people to “make noise” to support him. But crowds instead took to the streets of the capital and sang the national anthem.
Atiku, in a statement on his official X (formally Twitter) account, decried the latest coup in Gabon and called for an introspection into this escalating trend.
“The latest coup brings the number of military takeovers in Central and West Africa to 8 since 2020. This is worrisome and calls for introspection. We may have to focus on dealing with the disease and not the symptoms that birth coups,” Atiku stated.
The former vice president stressed that democracy and democratic governance are his most preferred form of government and that everything possible should be done to enthrone, support, and preserve democracy.
Atiku, however, appealed to both the authorities of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) to engage in diplomatic dialogue to help facilitate the orderly return of soldiers to their barracks.
“As I suggested in the case of the Niger Republic, the ECOWAS and African Union authorities should open a window of diplomatic engagement that will pave the way for the soldiers to return to the barracks,” he noted.
The coup attempt in Gabon follows a recent occurrence in Niger, where mutinous soldiers seized control from the democratically elected government. This event adds to a series of coups that have posed challenges to the governments of Central and West Africa.
Burkina Faso also witnessed two coups in 2020. In January 2022, Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba ousted President Roch Kabore due to his inability to curb violence by Islamist militants. However, on September 30, 2022, Captain Ibrahim Traore overthrew Damiba to assume leadership.
In Guinea, President Alpha Conde was deposed in September 2021 by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, a special forces leader. Conde’s alteration of the Constitution in 2020 to bypass term restrictions had led to widespread unrest.
In Chad, the passing of President Idriss Deby during combat prompted the Chadian army’s takeover in April 2021.
General Mahamat Idriss Deby, the president’s son, was named interim leader, contradicting Chadian law, which dictates that the parliamentary speaker assumes the presidency. The unlawful power transfer triggered protests in the capital, N’Djamena, which were eventually suppressed by the military.
In Mali, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was ousted in August 2020 by a group of Malian colonels led by Assimi Goita. The coup followed public demonstrations regarding deteriorating security, contentious legislative elections, and corruption allegations.
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