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Here are Five More Recent Examples of the CIA’s Operations in Africa

The CIA's involvement in Africa didn’t end with the Cold War; it continues into the present-day.

Sunday Times revealed over the weekend that CIA agent Donald Rickard admitted to playing a pivotal role in the arrest of Nelson Mandela in apartheid South Africa in 1962, which contributed to the future South African president’s incarceration for nearly three decades.


While much of the Central Intelligence Agency’s movements go under-the-radar, a bit of digging online reveals the agency has been extensively involved in African affairs. The BBC reports that the covert operative extensively influenced politics on the continent during the Cold War-era from aiding in the assassination of first Congo Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba to playing a role in a coup to unseat Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah to aiding Hissene Habre depose Chad President Goukouni Oueddei, who had called on Libyan Colonel Muammar Gaddafi for support.

But the U.S. foreign service’s meddling in Africa didn’t end with the Cold War; it continues into the present-day. Here are five more ways the CIA has a presence on the continent:

  1. Sudan- The CIA established a relationship with Sudanese intelligence director MG Salah Gosh , who was suspected of war crimes in Darfur. As part of their cooperation, a number of Sudanese prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay were released to Sudanese authorities in exchange for intelligence on al-Qaeda. The U.S. also has a vested interest in maintaining peace between North and South Sudan as well as in the oil reserves there.
  2. Burkina Faso- The intelligence agency also operated a classified surveillance program called Creek Sand, establishing a network of airbases used to fly U.S. planes to Mali, Mauritania and the Sahara to spy on al-Qaeda fighters who are part of Islamic Maghreb, an Algeria-based jihadist group. Nearly a dozen airbases have been established within the country, according to The Washington Post.
  3. Ethiopia- Similarly to the drones the Obama administration have flown over Pakistan and Yemen, the U.S. government also has operated Predator and Reaper drones from U.S. air bases in Dijbouti.
  4. Libya- In 2011, President Obama authorized CIA agents to gather intelligence for military airstrikes in addition to lending arms and support to Libyan rebels in an effort to overthrow the country’s leader Muammar Gaddafi, who was suspected of aiding terrorist groups and committing atrocities against his citizens.
  5. Somalia- The U.S. operative also has had a presence in Mogadishu as part of its counter-terrorism initiative, involving air strikes, drone attacks as well as training and advising Somali agents.
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Photo by NurPhoto via Getty Images.

A Year After #EndSARS, Nigerian Youth Maintain That Nothing Has Changed

Despite the disbandment of the SARS units, young Nigerians are still being treated as criminals. We talk to several of them about their experiences since the #EndSARS protests.

On September 12th, Tobe, a 22-year-old student at the University of Nigeria's Enugu Campus was on his way to Shoprite to hang out with his friends when the tricycle he had boarded was stopped by policemen. At first, Tobe thought they were about to check the driver's documents, but he was wrong. "An officer told me to come down, he started searching me like I was a criminal and told me to pull down my trousers, I was so scared that my mind was racing in different ways, I wasn't wearing anything flashy nor did I have an iPhone or dreads — things they would use to describe me as a yahoo boy," he says.

They couldn't find anything on him and when he tried to defend himself, claiming he had rights, one of the police officers slapped him. "I fell to the ground sobbing but they dragged me by the waist and took me to their van where they collected everything including my phone and the 8,000 Naira I was with."

Luckily for Tobe, they let him go free after 2 hours. "They set me free because they caught another pack of boys who were in a Venza car, but they didn't give me my money completely, they gave me 2,000 Naira for my transport," he says.

It's no news that thousands of Nigerian youth have witnessed incidents like Tobe's — many more worse than his. It's this helpless and seemingly unsolvable situation which prompted the #EndSARS protests. Sparked after a viral video of a man who was shot just because he was driving an SUV and was mistaken as a yahoo boy, the #EndSARS protests saw millions of young Nigerians across several states of the country come out of their homes and march against a system has killed unfathomable numbers of people for invalid or plain stupid reasons. The protests started on October 6th, 2020 and came to a seize after a tragedy struck on October 20th of the same year.

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