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West Africa’s new wave of coups

By AFP
02 February 2022   |   10:45 am
As Guinea-Bissau's president says he has survived an attempted coup hot on the heels of a successful putsch in Burkina Faso, we look at the recent wave of military takeovers in West Africa.

A soldier patrol the government palace area in Bissau, capital of Guinea-Bissau, on February 1, 2022. Sustained gunfire was heard near the seat of government in the coup-prone West African state of Guinea-Bissau, AFP reporters said, as a regional bloc condemned what it called an “attempted coup”. Heavily-armed men surrounded the Palace of Government, where President Umaro Sissoco Embalo and Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam were believed to have gone to attend a cabinet meeting. (Photo by AFPTV teams / AFP)

As Guinea-Bissau’s president says he has survived an attempted coup hot on the heels of a successful putsch in Burkina Faso, we look at the recent wave of military takeovers in West Africa.

Burkina Faso
Mutinous soldiers arrest President Roch Marc Christian Kabore on January 24 a day after soldiers at several army barracks in the capital revolt at the handling of jihadist attacks on the troubled Sahel nation.

It is the seventh coup since the country’s independence from France in 1960.

Mali, twice
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is overthrown in August 2020 after several months of street protests as the impoverished nation also struggles with an Islamic insurgency.

In May 2021 the military takes over yet again after the civilian leaders of an interim government remove soldiers from some key posts.

On July 20, army strongman Colonel Assimi Goita survives an assassination attempt at a mosque in Bamako.

Placed under embargo by West African neighbours, the generals have since turned to Moscow and Russian military contracters Wagner, sparking a row with France, Mali’s traditional ally.

Guinea
Elite troops led by Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya take over the impoverished though bauxite-rich state in September 2021, arresting 83-year-old President Alpha Conde.

The veteran became Guinea’s first democratically-elected president in 2010 after spending years in jails at the hands of previous juntas.

But he sparked fury by changing the constitution in order to run for a third term.

Guinea-Bissau
President Umaro Sissoco Embalo says he survived five hours of heavy fighting during a coup attempt Tuesday in which many people are killed and injured.

The former Portuguese colony is no stranger to military putsches, suffering four successful coups and 17 attempted ones since independence in 1974.