African style coup: depose leaders while overseas

Africa has shown a consistent pattern over many years with nation leaders being deposed by opposition forces while they are overseas.

African style coup: depose leaders while overseas

World Bulletin / News Desk

 Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza was only the latest of many African leaders to face an attempted coup while travelling abroad.

Despite the fact that Nkurunziza insists that the coup attempt failed, his plane was nevertheless forced to return to Tanzania – where he had just attended a regional summit – after his plane was denied entry into Burundian airspace.  

The following is a list of African leaders who were removed from power while outside the country.


President Nnamdi Azikiwe served as the first President of Nigeria from 1963 to 1966.

Azikiwe and his civilian colleagues were removed from power in a military coup led by army officer Kaduna Nzeogwu in 1966. He was the most prominent politician to escape the spate of assassinations that followed the coup. 


President Kwame Nkrumah was removed from power by a group of army officers in February 1966 while he was on an official visit to Vietnam.

Nkrumah found asylum in Guinea, where he spent the remainder of his life. He died of cancer in Bucharest in 1972.


Army commander I. K. Acheampong seized power in Ghana in January of 1972 while Prime Minister Kofi Busia was in London for medical treatment.


A group of Libyan army officers known as the Free Officers Movement, led by Col. Muammar Gaddafi, ousted King Idris – who had been in Turkey for medical treatment – and abolished the Libyan monarchy.


President Milton Obote, who led Uganda's struggle for independence from Britain in 1962, was removed from power in a 1971 military coup.

The coup, led by Gen. Idi Amin, took place while Obote was attending a Commonwealth Heads of State conference in Singapore.


Ex-politician Kukoi Samba Sanyang staged a coup in 1981 against the democratically-elected government of President Dawda Jawara.

Jawara was ousted while in Britain to attend the wedding of Prince Charles.

The coup attempt, however, was aborted when Senegalese troops defeated the rebel forces.

Jawara remained in power until 1994, when a group of soldiers led by Lieut. Yahya Jammeh removed him from power.


President Gaafar an-Nimeiry was ousted in a 1985 bloodless coup while on an official visit to the U.S., after which he lived in exile in Egypt.

An-Nimeiry returned to Sudan in 1999 and ran in a presidential election one year later, in which he fared poorly.

Central African Republic/2003

A coup d'état occurred in March of 2003 in the Central African Republic, when Gen. Francois Bozize and his forces marched on capital Bangui while President Ange-Felix Patasse was attending a regional conference in Niger.


The army staged a coup against Mauritanian President Maaouya Ould Sidi Ahmed Taya in 2005 while he was in Saudi Arabia to attend the funeral of late Saudi King Fahd bin Abdulaziz.


In 2014, a former army officer staged a coup against Gambian President Yahya Jammeh while he was abroad. The coup attempt failed after the rebels were unable to consolidate their control.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Mayıs 2015, 14:58