A group of high-ranking Gabonese military officers appeared on television declaring that they were taking over the country. The military questioned the election of President Ali Bongo for a third term.
The military said that the recent general elections were unreliable and that they represented all of Gabon’s security and defense forces.
Ali Bogno wins the elections. The military declares a coup
The incumbent president of Gabon, Ali Bongo, won a third term in the presidential elections, winning 64.27 percent. votes, the Gabonese electoral center said on Wednesday, after a delayed general election that the opposition condemned as fraudulent.
Albert Ondo Ossa finished second with 30.77 percent. Bongo’s team rejected the candidate’s allegations of electoral irregularities. The authorities’ decision to cut off the Internet and impose a nationwide curfew after the elections raised concerns about the transparency of the process. There were no foreign observers watching the vote, and some foreign television broadcasts were suspended.
“In the name of the Gabonese people… we have decided to defend peace by putting an end to the current regime,” the officers said on television. They added that the election results had been annulled, all borders closed until further notice and state institutions dissolved. Loud sounds of gunfire could be heard in the Gabonese capital, Libreville.
Presidential, parliamentary and legislative elections were held in Gabon on Saturday, with Ali Bongo seeking to extend his family’s 56-year rule. The opposition has pushed for change in a country rich in oil and cocoa but plagued by poverty. Tension was growing due to fear of unrest.
In 2019, the military in Gabon took over the state radio and used it to express dissatisfaction with the government of President Ali Bongo. During the president’s treatment in Morocco, the military announced the creation of the National Rebirth Council and called on citizens to oppose the government.
Since independence from France in 1960, Gabon has had only three presidents. The first was Léon M’ba, and his policies led to a bloodless coup in 1964. For over 41 years, Omar Bongo Ondimba was the head of state until the election of his son Ali after his death in 2009.