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Latest coup d’état attempt in Benin foiled

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Tuesday, 30 June 2020 17:51, updated on Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:17

Benin President Patrice Talon, in Cotonou in August 2018 © Yanick Folly / AFP

A new attempt to destabilise Benin – the details of which are still unknown and have not been made public – was reportedly foiled during the night of 25 to 26 June.

According to our sources, around 15 military personnel, including the bodyguard of Colonel Montan Kérékou, the son of former President Mathieu Kérékou, were arrested prior to appearing before the country’s anti-terrorism and economic crimes court, the Cour de répression des infractions économiques et du terrorisme (CRIET), and detained under a detention warrant.

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Currently serving as chief of staff to the defence minister, Colonel Kérékou was not placed under investigation and does not appear to have had any involvement in the coup.

In mid-February 2020, following an investigation launched in December 2019, more than 20 individuals, including 10 officers, linked to retired Colonel Pascal Tawès (who lives in the United States), were taken in for questioning and brought before CRIET.

According to a source close to President Patrice Talon, these repeated coup attempts are related to the president’s drive to “modernise”, “clean up” and “reform the entire public sector”, including the army.

Announced in early January 2020 by the president and adopted on 23 June by the National Assembly, the creation of a National Guard as Benin’s fourth branch of armed forces, alongside its army, air and navy forces, is one aspect of this comprehensive overhaul – one that “endangers certain rentier positions”, our source said.