Military officers have appeared on national TV in Gabon to say they have seized power in the central African nation, shortly after the results of a recent general election were announced.Loud gunfire was reported across the Gabonese capital Libreville in the early hours of Wednesday.
Around 12 Gabonese soldiers took over a television channel’s broadcast to announce that they were dissolving “all the institutions of the republic” and said they represented all security and defence forces in Gabon.
A soldier on TV channel Gabon 24 declared: “We have decided to defend peace by putting an end to the current regime.”
The apparent coup comes as president Ali Bongo was declared the winner of the country’s presidential election, handing him a third term in power.
The results of the elections had been delayed since Friday as the opposition claimed it was marred by fraud.
The Gabonese Election Centre (CGE) announced that Mr Bongo secured just under two-thirds of votes cast.
The coup leaders have promised to hold democratic elections in the near future. However, it is unclear if they will be able to maintain control of the country. There have been reports of protests in the capital, Libreville, and it is possible that the coup could lead to further instability in Gabon.
The coup is a major setback for democracy in Gabon. Bongo has been in power for over 50 years, and his rule has been characterized by corruption and nepotism. The coup is likely to have a significant impact on the country’s economy and security.
It is too early to say what the long-term implications of the coup will be. However, it is clear that this is a major event in Gabon’s history.