On August 30, soldiers and high-ranking officers of the Armed Forces of Gabon seized control of government buildings and communication channels in the capital city of Libreville, detaining Gabon’s President Ali Bongo in his residence and declaring an end to the Bongo family’s 56-year rule. It was a coup—one of nine in the last three years in West and Central Africa, including in Niger just one month prior.  

Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien spoke with Naunihal Singh, author of the book “Seizing Power: The Strategic Logic of Military Coups,” to discuss the spate of coups in the region, the origins of coups, what makes certain countries more coup-prone than others, and the rise and fall of anti-coup norms during and after the Cold War. They also dispelled several coup myths, including the myth of the coup contagion.  

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