Africa, Sub-Saharan

The military has been, and remains, one of the most powerful institutions in sub-Saharan Africa. While some forces grew out of structures from the colonial period, others emerged from the independence movements that fought for liberation over the past half century. This entry discusses the history of sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on its exploitation by Europeans, sub-Saharan Africa’s struggle for independence, and the influence of its military.

Although some military forces have proven critical in maintaining internal security, a fair number have been instrumental in suppressing political opposition groups and undermining democratic practice within and outside their own borders. A pertinent illustration comes from the West African country of Mali.

In late March 2012, roughly a month before the presidential elections, Captain Amadou Sanogo seized control of ...

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