Gabon coup attempt sees military chiefs declare election results

Are military coups on the rise in Africa?

Are military coups on the rise in Africa?


A group of high-ranking military officers in the West African nation of Gabon announced on public television Wednesday that they were “putting an end to the current regime” and annulling the results of national elections. The statement came just after the country’s election authority declared President Ali Bongo Ondima the winner of another term in office. 

Bongo has been in power in the country for 14 years, following in the footsteps of his father who led the nation for more than four decades before him.

Journalists with the French news agency AFP in the capital Libreville said they heard gunfire during the announcement.

Gabon Mutiny
This video grab shoes the spokesperson for the mutinous soldiers speaking on state television as they announce that they had seized power in Libreville, Wednesday Aug. 30, 2023.

GABON 24 via AP

“All the institutions of the republic are dissolved,” announced an officer, surround by a dozen or so fellow troops. “The government, the Senate, the National Assembly and the Constitutional Court.” 

He also announced the closure of the country’s borders “until further notice.”

The August 26 election “did not meet the conditions for a transparent, credible and inclusive ballot so much hoped for by the people of Gabon,” the commander said. “We have decided to defend peace by putting an end to the current regime.”

“To this end, the general elections of 26 August 2023 and the truncated results are cancelled,” he said, claiming to speak on behalf of a “Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions.”

The recent presidential, legislative and municipal elections in Gabon took place without election observers. Before the polls closed on Saturday, Bongo’s main rival Ondo Ossa — who won 30% of the ballot according to the previously announced results — accused Bongo of fraud and said he was the real winner.

If the coup attempt in Gabon is successful, it will be the eighth in West and Central Africa since 2020. The last one, in Niger, took place in July. High-ranking military officers have also seized power in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Chad.

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