Shocking revelations emerged from a recent hearing as General Michael Langley, the head of US Africa Command (AFRICOM), was grilled by Representative Matt Gaetz about US military training for African soldiers who later became coup leaders. The exchange was tense as Gaetz probed Langley about the apparent links between US military training and African coups.
Langley insisted that only a “very small number” of Africans who receive US military training end up leading coups against civilian governments, but Gaetz was not convinced. He cited the example of Guinea coup leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who had received US Green Beret training and led a coup in 2021 while US troops were still in the country. When Gaetz asked if the US shares “core values” with Doumbouya, Langley’s response was shocking: “Absolutely… In our curriculum, we do.”
BREAKING: The leader of U.S. military’s Africa Command states our government shares “core values” with military coup leaders.— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) March 23, 2023
These SAME coup leaders were trained by our own Armed Forces! pic.twitter.com/boGYfQ6csb
Gaetz also brought up the case of Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damib, who had participated in US training exercises before leading a coup in Burkina Faso in January 2022. Damib was later ousted in another coup led by Captain Ibrahim Traore, whose links to US military training remain unclear.
Investigative journalist Nick Turse revealed that since 2008, soldiers trained by the US in Africa have attempted at least nine coups across five West African countries, succeeding in at least eight. These included coups in Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, and the Gambia.
Langley insisted that AFRICOM’s training focuses on “core values,” including respect for civilian governance, democratic norms, and apolitical values. However, Gaetz was not convinced, pointing out that Doumbouya’s core value seemed to be leading a coup. The exchange was heated as Gaetz demanded to know how many countries the US trains “coup plotters.”
The revelations from the hearing were shocking and raise serious questions about US military involvement in African politics. How many other military leaders with ties to the US have gone on to stage coups? Are US troops inadvertently supporting coups by training soldiers who later turn against their own governments? The implications are grave, and the world waits for answers.