According to Al Jazeera, a group of senior Gabonese military officers appeared on national television on Wednesday, announcing that they had seized power in the country.
They claimed that the recent general elections lacked credibility and stated that they represented all security and defence forces of Gabon. These officers appeared on Gabon24 and announced the cancellation of the elections, dissolution of all state institutions, and closure of the country’s borders.
Gabon has become the third African nation, after Burkina Faso and Niger, to witness a change of leadership through a military coup. This announcement comes shortly after the state election body declared President Ali Bongo Ondimba as the winner of a third term in office, a result that has been disputed.
The officers stated that they have decided to defend peace by putting an end to the current regime in the name of the Gabonese people. The Gabonese Election Centre reported that Bongo received 64.27% of the votes, while the main challenger, Albert Ondo Ossa, received 30.77% after a process filled with delays.
The Opposition camp in Gabon has called the election a “fraud orchestrated by Ali Bongo and his supporters.” The government imposed a curfew and cut off the internet, and French media outlets were banned for their alleged lack of objectivity and balance in coverage of the elections.
Bongo, who took over as president after his father’s death in 2009, had announced his bid for a fresh term in office as the presidential candidate of the Gabonese Democratic Party. Tensions have been high during the election as the Opposition seeks an end to the Bongo family’s long-standing dominance in Gabon.