A group of top military officers in Gabon appeared on television in the early hours of Wednesday, August 30, to seize power following President Ali Bongo’s re-election.
During a live broadcast on Gabon 24, the officers said they were speaking on behalf of all security and defence forces in their country.
They said they have annulled the election results, closed all borders until further notice and dissolved all state institutions.
“In the name of the Gabonese people … we have decided to defend the peace by putting an end to the current regime,” the officers said.
There was tension in Gabon after the election last Saturday, which saw president Bongo emerge winner, thus extending his family’s 56-year grip on power.
The opposition party, who had been pushing for change in the poor country despite being rich in oil and cocoa, claim there was multiple electoral malpractices during the election.
A lack of international observers, suspension of some foreign broadcast, and the government’s decision to turn off the internet and impose a night-time curfew after the voting also raised concern about the transparency of the election, prompting the military coup.
This coup makes Gabon the latest country to be taken over by the military after Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger Republic.
Watch a short clip of the broadcast below,