Gabon President Ali Bongo was ousted by the military on Wednesday and placed under house arrest., one of his sons was arrested and charged with “high treason”. Bongo’s re-election was announced by election officials. Until the coup, the oil-rich Central African nation had been run by the Bongo family for more than 55 years.
“General Oligui Nguema Brice was unanimously appointed President “Commission for the Transformation and Restructuring of Institutions (CTRI),” the army said in a televised statement after holding a meeting in the country’s capital, Libreville. The general “ordered the reconnection and re-installation of fiber optics. signal of international radio stations and television channels in the country,” the spokesperson added of the coup d’étatColonel Ulrich Manfoombi.
Despite the lifting of the government-issued internet ban and international media suspension, the curfew continued., another of the measures imposed on August 26. The election was held on Wednesday morning President Ali Bongo was declared victorious.
Soon the Election Commission declared victory with 64.27 percent votesA group of soldiers announced in a televised message that they were suspending all Gabonese institutions and canceling elections that were not transparent, credible or inclusive.
Bongo’s main challenger, Albert Onto Osa, won 30.77 percent of the vote, according to results released by the Gabonis Election Center. Ondo, 69, won just two hours before polls closed after denouncing “planned rigging on the part of Bongo”. The election was conducted without international observers.
“President Ali Bongo is under house arrest, surrounded by his family and doctors,” according to a statement read on state television by CTRI soldiers. Nuredin Bongo Valentin, son and close ally of the Head of State; According to the coup d’état, chief of staff Ian Ghisline Nkolo and numbers one and two of Bongo’s Kabonis Democratic Party were arrested.
Television images showed hundreds of people celebrating the act of treason in the streets of Libreville, the capital of Gabon, located in central Africa, at midday. In a video that went viral on social media, Ali Bongo asked “all my friends in the world” to “make noise”. The ousted president said he was at his residence and “didn’t know what was going on.”
Reactions around the world were immediate, with Moussa Faki Mahamat, head of the African Union Commission, describing the coup as a “flagrant violation of the legal and political instruments” of the organization. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also condemned the events, although he warned that the election process was unfair. The EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, Joseph Borrell, lamented that the coup “increases instability in the central region” of the African continent.
In addition, several countries, such as France, condemned the move, although French government spokesman Olivier Véran called for “respect for the election results once they are known.” Russia also expressed its “deep concern” through Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, while the US described the situation as “deeply worrying”.
Ali Bongo has been in charge of the country since the death in 2009 of his father, Omar Bongo, who had been in power since 1967, six years after Gabon’s independence. In 2018, Ali Bongo suffered a stroke that kept him out of the public sphere for nearly a year. A few months later, in January 2019, a military group staged a coup that was crushed by the authorities.
The coup in Gabon was the second in Africa in a month, after the military seized power in Niger on July 26. Additionally, Gabon joins the list of countries that have experienced coups in the last three years: Mali from August 2020 to May 2021, Guinea-Conakry in September 2021, Sudan in October 2021, and Burkina Faso between January and September 2022.
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