France has never officially admitted to sponsoring or backing the overthrow of African governments. That is not enough to put weighty conspiracy theories to bed.
France, a former colonial power of many African countries, has been paternalistic in its relationship with Africa. And in the vein of Western powers showing their might, the Europeans have never refused to intervene when it is in their interest.
That makes the theories on coups all the more difficult to dismiss. And when one factors in the historical perspective that some of Africa’s most memorable coups were led by former French army protégés, you understand the perpetual suspicion towards France.
Here are five men educated by the French military who then went on to overthrow governments in their countries.