Suspicious data suggests China knew a military coup was brewing in Gabon
Relative to the world’s largest oil producing nations, Gobon is a small oil producing country. The OPEC member produces around 185,000 barrels a day.
For more than a decade, the country has had only one major constant customer for its oil exports – China.
But that all stopped in July.
Just weeks before the Gabon military seized power and placed President Ali Bongo under house arrest in late August, China stoped importing oil from Gabon.
Did they know another major coup in West Africa was brewing?
Prominent global energy markets expert Dr Anas Alhajji, thinks the timing is curious.
As he told WT Finance, Gabon recently acquired a new oil buyer – Israel – and they clearly didn’t have the same knowledge as the Chinese.
“Israel used to import oil for Kygystan and last March we ended up with problems with the pipeline going through Turkey, and then exports were halted completely. That led to a halt of most of the production in Krygstan,” he said.
“So what was the substitute? The substitute for some of the kygstani oil was Gabon. So Israel is the new customer to Gabon since last April. And now if the exports from Gabon are halted, then Israel still has to find other sources… They’ve lost two major sources in five months.
“So the question is this… Isn’t this strange that the Israelis didn’t know about the coup and the Chinese knew a month in advance, so they stopped their imports to China? I’m just looking at the data and there’s questions coming to mind.
“China has never stopped importing from Gabon, then all of a sudden a month before the coup it just stopped and Israel continued to import from Gabon.
“I don’t think it’s a conspiracy theory, it means China knew about it and Israel did not know about it and that’s very strange.
China a beneficiary of West Africa coups
Since 2020 there have been seven coup d’etat’s in West Africa – two in both Mali and Burkina Faso, along with one in Guinea and one in Niger, prior to the recent overthrowing of the Gabonese Democratic Party.
All five countries are ex-French colonies and more recently became signatories to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
“China always concentrated on east and central Africa, but has so far kept a lower profile in Western Africa, one of the reasons being the language barrier,” says Danilo delle Fave, a specialist in Chinese security and researcher at the non-profit International Team for the Study of Security Verona.
“In West Africa especially, Chinese efforts to enter the market are increasing wherever Beijing sees a deterioration of French influence and the effect of international sanctions on Russia’s trade.”
Perhaps the most obvious example of China’s infiltration into the region was the underreported arrival of China North Industries Group Corporation Limited, known as Norinco, in West Africa.
Norinco is a state-owned Chinese corporation. It is one of the world’s largest defence contractors and military equipment manufacturers.
In August, Norinco, opened a new office in the capital city of Senegal, Dakar in a move aimed at expanding its influences in west Africa.
“The inauguration of the new Dakar office is likely to amplify Norinco’s impact in West Africa, potentially prompting shifts in the region’s security dynamics,” noted Military Africa defence analyst Ekene Lionel.
The region is also strategically important for China’s long term belt and road initiative.