By Aaron Ross
DAKAR (Reuters) – An attempted coup was believed to be underway in Guinea-Bissau on Tuesday. The identity of the assailants and the status of President Umaro Sissoco Embalo were not immediately clear.
This would mark the fifth military coup in the past year in West and Central Africa, a region once known as the continent’s “coup belt”.
Here is a list of other recent coups.
A group of Malian colonels first seized power in August 2020 by ousting President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. The coup followed anti-government protests over deteriorating security, contested legislative elections and allegations of corruption.
Under pressure from Mali’s West African neighbours, the junta agreed to cede power to a civilian-led interim government tasked with overseeing an 18-month transition to democratic elections in February 2022.
But the coup leaders quickly clashed with the new interim president, retired colonel Bah Ndaw, and engineered a second coup in May 2021. Colonel Assimi Goita, who had served as interim vice president, was elevated to the presidency.
Goita’s government made little progress toward organising elections and announced that it intended to delay them by up to five years. West African regional bloc ECOWAS responded this month with sanctions, including closing its members’ borders with Mali.
Chad’s army took power in April 2021 after President Idriss Deby was killed while visiting Chadian troops fighting rebels in the north.
Under Chadian law, the speaker of parliament should have become president. But a military council stepped in and dissolved parliament in the name of ensuring stability.
Deby’s son, General Mahamat Idriss Deby, was named interim president and tasked with overseeing an 18-month transition to elections.
Special forces commander Colonel Mamady Doumbouya led a coup in September 2021 against President Alpha Conde, saying he acted because of poverty and corruption.
Conde had outraged opponents the previous year by changing the constitution to circumvent term limits that would have prevented him from standing for a third period. He won a third term in the October 2020 vote.
Doumbouya became interim president and promised a transition to democratic elections but has not said when those will take place.
ECOWAS has imposed sanctions on junta members and their relatives, including by freezing their bank accounts.
The military ousted President Roch Kabore last week, blaming him for failing to contain violence by Islamist militants. The coup leader, Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba, said afterward that Burkina Faso would return to constitutional order “when the conditions are right”.
ECOWAS and the African Union suspended Burkina Faso from their governing bodies but stopped short of imposing additional sanctions for now.
An ECOWAS delegation met on Monday with Damiba to discuss a political transition and with Kabore, who is under military guard.
(This story has been refiled to correct story identifier for some readers to Bissau not Burkina)
(Reporting by Aaron Ross; Editing by Bate Felix, Andrew Cawthorne and Angus MacSwan)