African Union summit 'unequivocally' condemns coup 'wave'

AP , Sunday 6 Feb 2022

​The African Union has condemned a recent "wave" of coups that has seen an unprecedented number of member states suspended from the bloc, a senior official said Sunday.

African Union
African heads of state gather for a group photograph at the 35th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. AP

"Every African leader in the assembly has condemned unequivocally... the wave of unconstitutional changes of government," Bankole Adeoye, head of the AU's security body, told a press conference on the closing day of the 55-member body's annual summit.

Four member states have been suspended by the council since mid-2021 because of unconstitutional changes of government.

The most recent coup occurred in Burkina Faso, where soldiers ousted president Roch Marc Christian Kabore last month.

"Do your research: 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, referring to Mali, Guinea, Sudan and Burkina Faso.

Addressing African foreign ministers ahead of the weekend summit, Moussa Faki Mahamat, chair of the African Union Commission, denounced a "worrying resurgence" of such putsches.

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 coups from happening.

"It is only when crisis hits that we say, 'Gosh, how come this country is falling apart like this so quickly?'" Solomon Dersso, founder of the AU-focused Amani Africa think-tank, told AFP in an interview this week.

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