Military coups have toppled governments in Niger and Gabon, two resource-rich countries in sub-Saharan Africa, in less than a month. The two putsches come on the heels of a wave of military takeovers in West and Central Africa that might spread to other nations in the two regions as well as other parts of the continent.
In our assessment of 12 countries surveyed, the risk of instability is high in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Mauritania and Senegal; medium in Angola, Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana; and low in Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Sao Tome & Principe.
Many African states — such as Egypt, Algeria and Mauritania — are already run by military-backed leaders, making a Gabon-style coup unlikely. Other countries, like war-torn Libya, have hardly any functioning state institutions to take over. In a few cases, such as Nigeria and Ghana, governments are strong enough to keep the men in uniform at arm’s length.
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