Gabon Army Officials Seize Power Following The Re-election Of President Ali Bongo, Report Say

Unsplash/ Filip Andrejevic

Reports by Reuters says Military officers in oil-producing Gabon have reportedly seized power on Wednesday and put President Ali Bongo under house arrest, stepping in minutes after the Central African state’s election body announced he had won a third term. The officers who said they represented the armed forces declared on television that the election results were cancelled, borders were closed and state institutions were dissolved, after a tense vote without international observers that was set to extend the Bongo family’s more than half century in power.

Hundreds of people celebrated the military’s intervention, while France, Gabon’s former colonial ruler which has troops stationed in the African nation, condemned the coup. The officers said they had detained Bongo, who took over in 2009 from his father Omar, who ruled since 1967. They said they had arrested the president’s son, Noureddin Bongo Valentin, and others for corruption and treason.

Opponents say the family has done little to share the state’s oil and mining wealth with its 2.3 million people. Violent unrest had broken out after Bongo’s disputed 2016 election win and there was a foiled coup attempt in 2019. After the officers’ announcement, internet access appeared to be restored for the first time since Saturday’s vote.

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