Mali Coup’s Regional

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

The putsch is being as a coup by lower-ranking and senior people have reportedly been arrested in Gao. Apparently, the action was engendered by ’ dissatisfaction with the level of support the government in fighting the Tuareg insurgency. Insurgents are reportedly thrilled by events, which they feel will make it easier for them to move ahead and take towns in the North.

Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan has got to be watching all this nervously. A coup by lower-ranking has been a fear of Nigeria watchers since the pre-Civil War days. Senior Nigerian are especially likely to be watching events in Mali carefully, while simultaneously looking over their shoulder, so to speak.

The parallelism is just too to home to disregard: Nigeria, like Mali, is a country with an insurgency in its North that it cannot control. However, a difference may be that the GON is spending a lot on security, even though how much of that money goes for equipment that rank and file need and get is not known.

Boko Haram’s views on the Mali coup and the Tuareg reaction is also highly . Will they be encouraged by what unfolds, particularly if a series of northern towns fall? How to answer that one? In other words, what lower-ranking in Nigeria’s army might do, and what senior might do to pre-empt it, is only half the equation. In past Nigerian coups, an active insurgency was not of the political environment. Now it is.

Source:John Campbel’s Africa in Transition

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