Coup in Gabon: Soldiers declare ‘regime has ended’, dissolve institutions, borders closed

With 64.27% votes overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday, Mr. After the official announcement of Bongo’s victory, a group of a dozen soldiers appeared on the screens of the Gabonese 24 television channel sheltered inside the presidency.

“We, the Security and Defense Forces, united within the Committee for the Transformation and Restructuring of Institutions (CTRI), have decided to preserve peace on behalf of those who guarantee the security of the Gabonese people and institutions. The regime remains in place”, one of these soldiers, a colonel of the regular army, announced in a statement, which Later aired on state channel Gabon 1√®re.

“For this, the August 26, 2023 general elections and the truncated results are cancelled,” he added.

The soldiers included members of the Republican Guard (GR), an elite unit and the Praetorian Guard of the Presidency recognizable by its green berets, as well as regular army soldiers and police officers. Of the four senior officers of the first rank, two are GR colonels and two are regular army colonels.

The coup comes amid a nationwide curfew and two measures imposed by the government on Saturday before the end of the polls to prevent the spread of “false news” while the internet is blacked out across the country. and possible “violence”.

Shortly after the soldiers’ statement was read, AFP journalists heard automatic gunfire in several neighborhoods of Libreville.

The players felt that the organization of the elections “did not meet the conditions for the transparent, credible and inclusive ballot that Gabon men and women expect”. They condemned “irresponsible, unpredictable governance, which has resulted in continued disruption of social cohesion and risks leading the country into chaos”.

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“We are often told: ‘In Gabon, you are rich, you have the forest’. But the forest is not always there.”

Borders are closed

The authors of the coup declared that “all the institutions of the Republic have been dissolved, notably the Government, the Senate, the National Assembly, the Constitutional Court, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, the Gabonese Electoral Center” and Gabon’s borders “will be closed until further orders”.

64 year old Mr. Bongo was elected in 2009 after the death of his father, Omar Bongo Ondimba, who led the small oil-rich central African state for more than 41 years. The opposition continues to condemn the existence of the “Bongo dynasty” for more than 55 years till date.

Ali Bongo, whose third term was reduced from 7 to 5 years, contested Saturday’s elections on three ballots: presidential, legislative and municipal.

The official results of the elections were announced on state television at midnight, at 03:30 (02:30 GMT), minutes before the soldiers raged on the screen, without any announcement of the event. done before.

According to these results, Mr. Bongo’s main rival, Albert Ondo Osa, only got 30.77% of the votes in the presidential election, and the other twelve candidates won only fractions.

Albert Ondo Ossa denounced Saturday’s vote two hours before the end of the vote as “planned fraud by the Bongo camp” and then already won. On Monday, his camp Mr. It urged Bongo to “transfer power without bloodshed” based on an account made by his own informants, but without producing any documentary evidence.

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69 year old Mr. Ondo Osa was elected eight days before the election by the main opposition platform, Alternance 2023, after a fierce battle between six contenders. Omar Bongo, a professor of economics at the University of Libreville and a former minister, has only six days left to campaign.

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