Coup Belt

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Coup Belt
Geopolitical region of Africa
African countries that have had successful coups between 2020 and 2023
African countries that have had successful coups between 2020 and 2023
CountriesSahel and West Africa, mainly:

The Coup Belt is a term used to talk about a part of West Africa and the Sahel where there are a lot of coups happening. A coup is when a group of people take over a government by force. This term became popular recently because there were many coups in the early 2020s. Some examples include coups in Mali, Guinea, Chad, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Gabon.[1][2][3][4] After a coup in Niger in 2023, these countries formed a line across Africa from the east coast to the west coast.

Where it started[change | change source]

The number of successful coups d'état in postcolonial Africa (As of 1 August 2023).[5] A successful coup occured in Gabon on 30 August 2023.

Since 1990, most of the coups in sub-Saharan Africa happened in countries that used to be ruled by France. Some people think that French influence might be causing instability in Africa.

The military leaders in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger stopped letting French troops operate in their countries. They also stopped using French as an official language.

There was supposed to be French troops in Niger after they left Mali and Burkina Faso. But because of a crisis in Niger and problems with France, this didn't happen.

A group called ECOWAS tried to change the bad image of this region, but they couldn't. They suspended Mali and Guinea after coups happened in those countries.

The coups in these countries are often similar. They usually happen because the military is unhappy with how the government is dealing with problems like protests or Islamic groups. The new leaders also don't have good relationships with Western countries. Instead, they look for support from Russia, Turkey, or other places.[6][7][8]

Summary of coups d'état in West Africa and the Sahel region[change | change source]

Date Country Event Head of state or government Coup leader(s) Outcome
13 January 1963  Dahomey 1963 Dahomeyan coup d'état Christophe Soglo Hubert Maga Coup successful
28 October 1963  Togo 1963 Togolese coup d'état Sylvanus Olympio Coup successful
3 December 1963  Niger 1963 Nigerian coup d'état attempt Hamani Diori Hassan A. Diallo Coup failure
3 January 1966  Upper Volta 1966 Upper Voltan coup d'état Maurice Yaméogo Sangoulé Lamizana Coup successful
16 January 1966  Nigeria 1966 Nigerian coup d'état Nnamdi Azikiwe Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu Coup failure
24 February 1966  Ghana 1966 Ghanaian coup d'état Kwame Nkrumah Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka Coup successful
28 July 1966  Nigeria 1966 Nigerian counter-coup Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi Yakubu Gowon Coup successful
21 March 1967  Sierra Leone First 1967 Sierra Leone coup d'état Siaka Stevens David Lansana Coup successful
23 March 1967  Sierra Leone Second 1967 Sierra Leone coup d'état David Lansana Andrew Juxon-Smith Coup successful
18 November 1968  Mali 1968 Malian coup d'état Modibo Keïta Moussa Traoré Coup successful
15 April 1974  Niger 1974 Nigerien coup d'état Hamani Diori Seyni Kountché Coup successful
25 November 1980  Upper Volta 1980 Upper Volta coup d'état Sangoulé Lamizana Saye Zerbo Coup successful
7 November 1982  Upper Volta 1982 Upper Voltan coup d'état Say Zerbo Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo Coup successful
28 February 1983  Upper Volta 1983 Upper Voltan coup d'état attempt Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo Saye Zerbo Coup failure
4 August 1983  Upper Volta 1983 Upper Voltan coup d'état Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo Thomas Sankara Coup successful
3 April 1984  Guinea 1984 Guinean coup d'état Louis Lansana Beavogui Lansana Conté Coup successful
23 March 1987  Sierra Leone 1987 Sierra Leonean coup d'état attempt Joseph Saidu Momoh Francis Minah Coup failure
15 October 1987  Burkina Faso 1987 Burkina Faso coup d'état Thomas Sankara Blaise Compaoré Coup successful
3 December 1990  Chad 1990 Chadian coup d'état Hissène Habré Idriss Déby Coup successful
26 March 1991  Mali 1991 Malian coup d'état Moussa Traoré Amadou Toumani Touré Coup successful
29 April 1992  Sierra Leone 1992 Sierra Leonean coup d'état Joseph Saidu Momoh Valentine Strasser Coup successful
27 January 1996  Niger 1996 Nigerien coup d'état Mahamane Ousmane Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara Coup successful
9 April 1999  Niger 1999 Nigerien coup d'état Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara Daouda Malam Wanké Coup successful
7 October 2003  Burkina Faso 2003 Burkina Faso coup d'état attempt Blaise Compaoré Coup failure
5 February 2005  Togo 2005 Togolese coup d'état Fambaré Ouattara Natchaba Coup successful
23 December 2008  Guinea 2008 Guinean coup d'état Aboubacar Somparé Moussa Dadis Camara Coup successful
18 February 2010  Niger 2010 Nigerien coup d'état Mamadou Tandja Salou Djibo Coup successful
16 July 2011  Niger 2011 Nigerien coup d'état attempt Mahamadou Issoufou Coup failure
21 March 2012  Mali 2012 Malian coup d'état Amadou Toumani Touré Amadou Sanogo Coup successful
3 November 2014  Burkina Faso 2014 Burkina Faso uprising Blaise Compaoré Uprising successful
16 September 2015  Burkina Faso 2015 Burkina Faso coup d'état attempt Michel Kafando Gilbert Diendéré Coup failure
11 April 2019  Sudan 2019 Sudanese coup d'état Omar al-Bashir Coup successful
18 August 2020  Mali 2020 Malian coup d'état Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta Coup successful
31 March 2021  Niger 2021 Nigerien coup d'état attempt Mohamed Bazoum Sani Saley Gourouza Coup failure
20 April 2021  Chad Death of Idriss Déby Idriss Déby Mahamat Déby Regarded as a coup by regional opposition
24 May 2021  Mali 2021 Malian coup d'état Bah Ndaw Assimi Goïta Coup successful
5 September 2021  Guinea 2021 Guinean coup d'état Alpha Condé Mamady Doumbouya Coup successful
25 October 2021  Sudan 2021 Sudan coup d'état Abdalla Hamdok
Coup successful
23 January 2022  Burkina Faso January 2022 Burkina Faso coup d'état Roch Marc Christian Kaboré Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba Coup successful
30 September 2022  Burkina Faso September 2022 Burkina Faso coup d'état Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba Ibrahim Traoré Coup successful
15 April 2023  Sudan 2023 Sudan conflict Abdel Fattah al-Burhan Hemedti Inconclusive; led to civil conflict
26 July 2023  Niger 2023 Nigerien coup d'état Mohamed Bazoum Coup successful
1 August 2023  Sierra Leone 2023 Sierra Leone coup attempt Julius Maada Bio Coup failure
30 August 2023  Gabon 2023 Gabonese coup d'état Ali Bongo Ondimba Brice Oligui Coup successful

References[change | change source]

  1. Mekki Elmograbi (7 September 2021). "Guinea Joins the African Club of the "Coup Belt"". BL News.
  2. Suleiman, Muhammad Dan (September 24, 2021). "Towards a Better Understanding of the Underlying Conditions of Coups in Africa".
  3. "Africa's 'coup belt' facing further upheaval". Arab News. February 2, 2022.
  4. Onuah, Felix (December 5, 2022). "West African leaders plan peacekeeping force to counter 'coup belt' reputation" – via
  5. Duzor, Megan; Williamson, Brian (February 2, 2022). "By the Numbers: Coups in Africa". Voice of America. Retrieved 1 August 2023.
  6. "Africanews | French forces make Niger new home after being expelled by Mali". Africanews. 2022-07-05. Retrieved 2023-08-06.
  7. "Africanews | French forces make Niger new home after being expelled by Mali". Africanews. 2022-07-05. Retrieved 2023-08-06.
  8. "Niger junta revokes military pacts with France". POLITICO. 2023-08-04. Retrieved 2023-08-06.