African Union slams ‘recent waves’ of coups
African Union has slammed a recent “wave” of military coups that has seen an
unprecedented number of member states suspended from the pan-African bloc, a
senior official said as its annual summit concluded on Sunday.
Less than two weeks before 35th summit of the African Union began Saturday, Burkina Faso became the fourth country to be suspended by the AU after disgruntled soldiers toppled President Roch Marc Christian Kabore. Guinea, Mali and Sudan are also currently suspended.
“Every African leader in the assembly has condemned unequivocally… the wave of unconstitutional changes of government,” Bankole Adeoye, head of the AU’s Peace and Security Council, told a press conference Sunday.
“At no time in the history of the African Union have we had four countries in one calendar year, in 12 months, been suspended,” Adeoye said.
Addressing African foreign ministers ahead of the summit, Moussa Faki Mahamat, chair of the African Union Commission, denounced a “worrying resurgence” of such military coups.
But the AU has been accused of an inconsistent response, notably by not suspending Chad after a military council took over following the death of longtime President Idriss Deby Itno on the battlefield last April.
And while Adeoye touted the AU’s use of suspensions to punish coup leaders, analysts say the body must be more proactive to prevent military takeovers.
Most coup leaders in West Africa have been trained by the US military in programs that have seen Washington pumping in more than $1 billion in security assistance to promote “stability” in the region.
Since 2008, U.S.-trained officers have attempted at least nine coups (and succeeded in at least eight) across five West African countries, including Burkina Faso (three times), Guinea, Mali (three times), Mauritania, and the Gambia.
U.S.-trained coup-plotters aren’t strictly confined to West Africa. Before Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi deposed Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, he underwent basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, (in 1981) and advanced instruction at the U.S. Army War College (in 2006).
There is rising concern that US military is deliberately training breeds coup-makers instability in Africa serves its interests and those of other colonial powers especially France and Britain.