Gabon Soldiers Announce Coup Following Controversial Election Results

Gabon Coup
This video grab taken from Gabon 24 shows Gabonese soldiers appearing on television on August 30, 2023 announcing they were "putting an end to the current regime" and the cancellation of an election that, according to official results, President Ali Bongo Ondimba won. - During the announcement, AFP journalists heard gunfire ring out in the Gabonese capital, Libreville. While announcing the cancellation of the results one of the soldiers announced the dissolution of "all the institutions of the republic". "We have decided to defend peace by putting an end to the current regime", one of the soldiers said on TV channel Gabon 24, adding that he was speaking on behalf of the "Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions". "To this end, the general elections of 26 August 2023 and the truncated results are cancelled," he added. "All the institutions of the republic are dissolved: the government, the Senate, the National Assembly and the Constitutional Court," he added, announcing the closure of the country's borders "until further notice". Among the soldiers were members of the Republican Guard as well as soldiers of the regular army and police officers. (Photo by - / Gabon 24 / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / GABON 24" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / GABON 24" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS /

Soldiers appeared on Gabonese national television, announcing the cancellation of recent election results and the dissolution of “all the institutions of the republic”.

The apparent coup follows shortly after the national election authority’s announcement on Wednesday that Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba had been re-elected for a third term.

A soldier appearing on TV channel Gabon 24 said, “We have decided to defend peace by putting an end to the current regime”.

Gunfire is reported in the Gabonese capital, Libreville, according to media reports.


Gabon’s political opposition branded the election a “fraud orchestrated by Ali Bongo and his supporters”.

‘The coup in Gabon is different’

Ovigwe Eguegu, security analyst at Afripolitika, a security consultancy group, says the coup in Gabon is not similar to others witnessed in West Africa.

“The coup in Gabon came as a surprise but to some extent, it is not really a surprise because if you go back to 2016 for instance when there was an election, the vote was fraudulent with people protesting the results. That was Ali Bongo’s second term,” Eguegu said.

“Then in 2019, there was a coup attempt and those officers cited election irregularities saying it was not representative of the will of the people,” he added.

“Again, we are seeing the same pattern. The coup in Gabon is different from what we are seeing in other West African countries. While those other coups are more about security and governance, this is specifically about the electoral process,” he said.

China calls for President Bongo’s safety to be guaranteed

China has called for “all sides” in Gabon to guarantee the safety of President Ali Bongo Ondimba after a group of military officers said they were “putting an end to the current regime” in the West African nation.

“We call on all sides in Gabon to proceed from the basic interests of the country and the people, resolve differences through dialogue, (and) restore normal order as soon as possible,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

Wang called on parties to “guarantee the personal safety of President Bongo, and uphold national peace and stability”.

France following events in Gabon ‘with the greatest attention’

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne says Parisis following events in Gabon “with the greatest attention”

Borne’s comment was the first reaction from France – Gabon’s former colonial power – whose influence and interests in Africa are seen as being undermined by a series of recent coups that have toppled friendly governments.

‘This is a big issue for Europe’

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell says defence ministers from the bloc are to discuss the situation in Gabon.

“If this is confirmed, it is another military coup which increases instability in the whole region,” Borrell, speaking at a meeting of EU defence ministers in Toledo, said.

“The whole area, starting with Central African Republic, then Mali, then Burkina Faso, now Niger, maybe Gabon, it’s in a very difficult situation and certainly the ministers … have to have a deep thought on what is going on there and how we can improve our policy in respect with these countries,” he said.

“This is a big issue for Europe,” he added.

‘We are finally on the road to happiness’

Gabon’s army officers who claimed to have seized power say the country is “on the road to happiness”, adding that Libreville will respect its commitments “to the national and international community”.

“We call for calm and serenity from the public, the communities of sister countries settled in Gabon, and the Gabonese diaspora,” an officer reading a statement on state TV said.

“We reaffirm our commitment to respecting Gabon’s commitments to the national and international community,” he added.

Gabon’s borders ‘closed until further notice’: Soldiers announce on TV

Gabon’s borders have been closed indefinitely by soldiers who appeared to have seized power, as announced in a statement broadcast on the state-run Gabon 24 television channel.

“The borders are closed until further notice,” said one of the soldiers, speaking on behalf of a “Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions”.

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