Gabon Army Seizes Power after Election

Gabon Army Seizes Power after Election – A dramatic twist has unfolded in Gabon as army officers took control of national television to declare a coup, announcing the annulment of the recent presidential election results. The election, which saw President Ali Bongo declared the winner, was mired in controversy with the opposition alleging fraud. The move chiefly marks a potential end to the Bongo family’s 53-year rule over Gabon, a nation that holds significance as a major African oil producer and boasts vast forested regions.

The military intervention arrived with a firm statement that the election results were voided, and the institutions of the republic were dissolved. Furthermore, the country’s borders have been closed indefinitely. These developments were presented by a group of twelve soldiers, representing the Committee of Transition and the Restoration of Institutions.

A Chain of Coups

This situation, if confirmed, would contribute to a recent trend of coups within former French colonies in Africa, with this being the eighth in the past three years. While most of these occurred in the Sahel region further north, the underlying issues often revolved around governance and security challenges.

The international community has expressed concern over the unfolding events. French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne stated her country’s close monitoring of the situation. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, emphasized that a military takeover would exacerbate instability across Africa.

In reaction to the coup announcement, French mining group Eramet, which employs a significant workforce in Gabon, suspended all operations in the country for safety reasons.

Gabon Army Seizes Power from President Bongo

The announcement by the military was accompanied by the sounds of gunfire echoing through the capital, Libreville. A resident of Port Gentil recounted the repeated broadcast of the announcement on national TV channels. This shows the broad involvement of defense and security forces. This further suggests that the coup might encounter resistance and may not be fully consolidated.

Previous Victories

President Ali Bongo’s previous electoral victories were disputed by opposition figures on grounds of fraud, and this election followed suit. Concerns were raised about irregularities and changes to voting procedures shortly before the election.

President Bongo’s entry into power in 2009, following his father’s passing, had already sparked debates about dynastic rule. His authority was further challenged when he suffered a stroke in 2018, raising questions about his capacity to lead. In 2019, a failed coup attempt resulted in the imprisonment of mutinying soldiers.

As the situation continues to develop, questions linger about the government’s response and President Bongo’s whereabouts. Internet access has been temporarily suspended. A curfew has also been imposed. Gabo is now grappling with a critical juncture that has shaken the country’s political landscape. This has also raised concerns internationally.