Gabon authorities announce military coup, President Ali Bongo detained

This is the post Gabon

LIBERVILLE, Aug 30 (Reuters) – Military authorities in oil-producing Gabon said they seized power on Wednesday, placing President Ali Bongo under house arrest and appointing a new president following an announcement by the central African state’s election body. The name of the leader is declared that Bongo has won the third term.

Saying they represented the armed forces, officials announced on television that election results had been annulled, borders closed and state institutions dissolved, following a tense vote that returned the Bongo family to power. was set to extend over half a century.


Within hours, the generals discussed who would lead the transition and voted unanimously to appoint Gen. Brice Oligui Nguema, the former head of the Presidential Guard, according to another televised address. Meanwhile, from his house arrest, Bongo appealed to foreign colleagues in a video statement to speak out on his and his family’s behalf. He stated that he had no idea what is going on.

  • Bongo’s family has ruled for 56 years
  • Junta appoints General Leader: Brice Oligui Nguema
  • Bongo appeals for support from house arrest
  • France, with troops in Gabon, condemns coup

Bongo’s plight was a dramatic reversal from Wednesday morning when the electoral commission declared him the winner of Saturday’s disputed vote. Hundreds of people celebrated the military intervention in the streets of Libreville, the capital of Gabon, while the United Nations, the African Union and France, Gabon’s former colonial ruler, which has troops stationed there, has strongly criticized the coup.


The military takeover in Gabon is the eighth in West and Central Africa since 2020 and second only to Niger in the same number of months. Military authorities have also seized power in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Chad, wiping out democratic gains since the 1990s and raising fears among foreign powers with strategic interests in the region.

“I’m marching today because I’m happy. After almost 60 years, the bongos are out of power,  said unemployed 27-year-old Jules Labigui, who joined the crowd in Libreville.
Bongo took power in 2009 following the death of his father, Omar, who had ruled since 1967. Opponents claim the family has done nothing to share the state’s oil and mining wealth with the state’s 2.3 million residents. Violent unrest broke out after Bongo’s victory in the 2016 election and a failed coup attempt in 2019.

Gabon officials, who call themselves the Committee for Change and Restoration of Institutions, said the country was facing a “serious institutional, political, economic and social crisis”, and that the August 26 vote was not credible. They also said they had arrested the president’s son, Noureddine Bongo Valentin, and others on charges of corruption and treason. The Gabonese administration had no immediate comment.


Coup transition Gabon

Bongo, 64, was last seen casting his vote in public on Saturday. Before the vote, he looked much healthier than in his more subdued television appearances following his 2018 stroke. Unlike Niger and other Sahel countries, Gabon, which lies further south on the Atlantic coast, has not had to fight volatile Islamist insurgents. But the coup is another sign of democratic decline in the volatile region.

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, the current chair of the West African bloc ECOWAS, said an “infection of autocracy” is spreading across Africa. He said he is working with other African leaders on how to respond in Gabon. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the African Union condemned the incidents and called on the military to ensure the safety of Bongo and his family, while China and Russia said they hoped for a quick return to stability. The United States said that the situation is extremely worrying.

We condemn the military coup and reiterate our commitment to free and transparent elections,” said Olivier Veran, a spokesman for the French government. The coup creates further uncertainty for France’s presence in the region. There are about 350 French soldiers in Gabon. Its forces have been driven out after coups in Mali and Burkina Faso in the past two years.

French miner Eramet (ERMT.PA), which has a large manganese business in Gabon, said it had halted operations. Gabon produces about 200,000 barrels of oil a day, mainly from depleted fields. TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA) of France and Anglo-French company Perenco are two international firms.

Concerns about the transparency of the weekend election were raised by a lack of international observers, the suspension of some foreign broadcasts, and a decision to cut internet service after voting and impose a night-time curfew. Bongo’s team rejected the allegations of fraud. Internet was seen working for the first time after voting on Wednesday. The junta confirmed that web access as well as all international broadcasts had been restored, but said it would keep the curfew in place until further notice.

Shortly before the coup was announced, the election authority declared Bongo the winner of the election with 64.27% of the vote and that his main rival, Albert Ondo Osa, had won 30.77% of the vote. Gabon’s dollar-denominated bonds fell as much as 14 cents on Wednesday and were trading down 9.5 cents on the dollar.

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