Gabon Military Officers appeared on National television on Wednesday and announced their seizing of power. They mentioned they had taken power days after the state election body announced that President Ali Bongo had won a third term.
The officers said they represented all defence forces in the Central African nation and that the election results were cancelled. Furthermore, they closed all borders until further notice and dissolved state institutions.
A reporter from Reuters announced that there were loud gunfire sounds in the capital, Libreville. There were no reports on the whereabouts of President Bongo who was last seen on Saturday after he cast his vote in the elections.
“In the name of Gabonese people… we have decided to defend the peace by putting an end to the current regime,” the officers said.
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Coups in Africa
If the coup is successful, it will mark the eighth in West and Central Africa since 2020. Coups in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Guinea and Chad have undermined the democratic processes of late.
After the announcement of election results on Saturday, fears of unrest accompanied by tensions filled the air. President Ali Bongo would extend the 56-year grip on power that his family has had. The opposition on the other hand was pushing for change in the country’s administration.
Bongo took over power from his father, Omar as president in 2009. He had 18 challengers and emerged the winner. His team denied all allegations of fraud during the elections.
In 2016, after Bongo was re-elected for his second term, the parliament building was set on fire during violent street protests. The government decided to shut down internet access at the time to help calm down the protesters who were against the re-election.
After the polls this year, many questions of transparency of the electoral process were posed. There were no international observers during the polls. After tensions started rising, some foreign broadcasters were suspended, and the authorities cut internet service in the nation and imposed a nighttime curfew nationwide.