AU leaders condemn ‘wave of coups’ on the continent
By Vatican News staff writer
African leaders gathered at the 35th African Union Summit over the weekend, have complained about the ‘wave’ of military coups and attempted putsches on the continent, after the organization suspended four nations for unconstitutional regime changes in the last year.
At the meeting, which took place in Addis Ababa, the leaders “condemned unequivocally” the wave of unconstitutional changes of government” said head of the AU’s Peace and Security Council, Bankole Adeoye, adding that the military takeovers would not be tolerated by the AU.
In the past year, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Sudan have been suspended from the activities of the AU following military power grabs.
Wave of coups
While many African countries experienced coup d’états in the years following their independence (1960s – 70s), there had been a significant decline since the 1990s, with many moving towards peaceful and democratic ways of changing power. However, the density of coups over the past two years has risen, with the military seizing power in six countries, and three more attempts to seize power have been unsuccessful.
Further expressing concern, Adeoye notes that “at no time in the history of the African Union have we had four countries in one calendar year, in 12 months, being suspended.”
Africa’s surge in coups began in Mali in 2020, followed by others in Guinea and Sudan in 2021. Last month, Burkina Faso was added to the list of suspended AU countries after soldiers toppled the government of President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.
An attempted coup in Guinea-Bissau failed last week. The country’s president, Umaro Sissoco Embaló, said the attackers were an isolated group, and that they were linked to drugs in the country which has become an important transit point for drugs from Latin America.
In Burkina Faso and Mali - two of the countries where the military has seized power recently – authorities have been struggling to contain Islamic insurgencies and the coups have been linked to this fight.
Israel debate on hold
Meanwhile, the AU leaders postponed a debate to reconsider Israel’s accreditation as an observer to the 55-member pan-African body.
Israel had been given observer status last year, a decision that sparked strong reactions from several countries including Algeria and South-Africa.
Palestinian prime minister, Mohammed Shtayyeh on Saturday urged the AU to withdraw Israel’s observer status because it “should never be rewarded for its violation and for the apartheid regime it does impose on the Palestinian people.”
The AU’s newly elected chairman Macky Sall, said there was an agreement to postpone the vote till the next summit in 2023. He added that a committee had been set up with the goal of consulting with member states and building a consensus on the issue.