The Government of Russia may be behind the recent coups in African countries, says U.S. Army General Stephen J. Townsend Commander, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
“You asked about the involvement of the Russians and the Chinese in these coups generally. We have not seen that – have not seen any involvement by the Chinese in any of these coups. I don’t think they’re doing that, furthering that or promoting those. With Russia, I think it’s a little less clear. I think I have received reports of Russian involvement at least in Sudan in the not too distant past,” he said during the press briefing on Thursday.
“I don’t think China is behind any of these coups and I don’t really think that Russia is the main animating force behind most of them, but the hand of Russia may be visible in one or two of these,” said General Stephen J. Townsend without naming in which African country’s coup Russia involved.
“Recently, the world has seen an emerging trend of unconstitutional military-led changes of government. Overthrowing elected leaders can undo decades’ worth of progress on democracy. These military seizures of power are inconsistent with U.S. democratic values and our professional military ethos. So it’s important, we believe, that our military partners stay out of politics,” he said.
It is recalled that recently military coups has taken place in some African countries including Chad, Mali, Sudan, Guinea, and Burkina Faso.
Currently the United States and Russia are at loggerheads because the U.S. fears that Russia has plan to invade the neighboring country Ukraine.
During the telephone press briefing he organized from Rome, Italy, General Townsend discussed the 2022 African Chiefs of Defense Conference and the United States’ and Africa’s shared commitment to security on the continent. Explaining the significance of the military related partnership between AFRICOM and African countries he listed the following four major points.
“So first of all, every day U.S. Africa Command is focused on four major lines of effort. The first is to maintain U.S. strategic relationships, access and influence on the continent, and that’s for whatever America might need in the future, and that means if we call and ask for an emergency overflight, for a crisis or a medevac, that African leaders know who we are, they understand our request, and they are more than likely to say yes to that. That’s an example.”
“The second thing we work on is countering threats that might emanate from Africa. Typically we’re focused on countering violent extremist threats, but it could also include anyone else who’d like to harm the U.S. or our allies and our partners,” he said.
“Three is respond to crises. The goal is to prevent a crisis, but U.S. forces are always ready to respond to a variety of crises – everything ranging from humanitarian assistance such as the Ebola crisis, or a natural disaster such as a major cyclone, or a direct threat to a U.S. embassy or our partner forces. “
And then fourth, we do all of this by partnering with our allies. This is the foundation of everything we do. AFRICOM doesn’t have a lot of resources, and so to achieve those first three things, we have to work by, with, and through our partners. We like to follow their lead and support them wherever we can,” he said.
There 36 participating countries in the 2022 African Chiefs of Defense Conference are Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eswatini, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Italy, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tanzania, The Gambia, Tunisia, and Zambia