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Military officers in the oil-producing nation of Gabon said they had seized power on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, and placed President Ali Bongo under house arrest. They have also appointed a new leader after the Central African country’s electoral body announced that Bongo had won a third term.
Saying they represented the armed forces, the officers declared on television that the election results were annulled, borders closed and state institutions disbanded, after a tense vote expected to extend the Bongo dynasty’s rule for more than half a century.
Within hours, the generals met to discuss who would lead the transition and agreed unanimously to appoint Gen. Brice Oligui Nguema, the former head of the presidential guard, according to another televised speech.
Meanwhile, from custody at his residence, Bongo appealed via video statement to foreign allies, asking them to speak on behalf of him and his family. She
Bongo’s plight was a dramatic reversal from early Wednesday when the electoral commission declared him the winner of Saturday’s disputed election.
Hundreds of people celebrated the military intervention in the streets of Gabon’s capital Libreville, while the UN, African Union and France, Gabon’s former colonial ruler which has troops there, condemned the coup.

The military takeover of Gabon is the eighth in West and Central Africa since 2020, and the second – after Niger – in as many months.

Military officers have also seized power in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Chad, erasing democratic advances since the 1990s and raising fears among foreign powers with strategic interests in the region.
“I am protesting today because I am happy. After nearly 60 years, Bongo has lost power,” said Jules Lebigui, an unemployed 27-year-old who joined the masses in Libreville.
Bongo took power in 2009 after the death of his father, Omar, who ruled since 1967. Opponents say the family has done little to share the country’s oil and mining wealth among its 2.3 million people.

Violent riots followed Bongo’s victory in the 2016 election, and there was a thwarted coup attempt in 2019.

Gabonese officers, calling themselves the Committee for Transition and Restoration of Institutions, said the country was facing a “severe institutional, political, economic and social crisis”, and that the August 26 vote could not be trust. The coup created more uncertainty for the French presence in the region. France has around 350 troops in Gabon. His troops have been driven out of Mali and Burkina Faso after coups there in the last two years.

French miner Eramet

which has major manganese operations in Gabon, said it had stopped operations.
Gabon produces around 200,000 barrels of oil per day, mostly from dwindling oil fields. International companies include French TotalEnergies and Anglo French manufacturer Perenco.
Concerns about the transparency of this weekend election were raise by a lack of international observers, the suspension of some foreign broadcasts, and the decision to cut internet service and impose a curfew after the vote. The Bongo team rejects the allegation of fraud. The junta confirm that web access and all international broadcasts had been restore, but said it would maintain a curfew until further notice.

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