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Army officers say they are taking power – Gabon


Army officers in Gabon have made an appearance on national television, announcing that they have seized power. They have declared the results of Saturday’s election, in which President Ali Bongo was declared the winner, null and void. The opposition had argued that the election was fraudulent. President Bongo’s family has held power in Gabon for 53 years, and his overthrow would put an end to their long reign. During the televised announcement, twelve soldiers stated that they were annulling the election results and dissolving all government institutions. They also announced the closure of the country’s borders until further notice.

In an interview on Gabon 24 TV channel, one of the soldiers explained that their actions were motivated by the irresponsible and unpredictable governance that has resulted in social unrest and the potential for chaos. Gunfire was reported in the capital city, Libreville, following the soldiers’ broadcast, but the government has not yet responded to their announcement. Previous general elections in Gabon have also been marred by concerns about the voting process. This time, the main opposition candidate and his coalition complained about the lack of ballot papers with his name and the inclusion of withdrawn candidates on the ballot sheet. Foreign media were prevented from covering the election by the government, and security measures such as a curfew and internet suspension were implemented.

President Bongo’s previous wins were disputed by opponents, and controversial changes were made to voting papers just weeks before this election. President Bongo came to power in 2009 following the death of his father, Omar. In 2018, he suffered a stroke that led to calls for his resignation, and the following year, a failed coup attempt resulted in the imprisonment of mutinying soldiers.

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