Senior military officers in Gabon have appeared on national television to say they have seized power and placed President Ali Bongo under house arrest.
The officers also announced that they were annulling the results of an election on Saturday, in which President Bongo was declared the winner. They said they were dissolving all state institutions, and that the country’s borders were shut.
In a later appearance, the officers nominated the head of the presidential guard, General François Ndonga, as the leader of the transition.
Bongo’s overthrow would end his family’s 56-year hold on power in the resource-rich West African country. This would be the eighth coup in former French colonies in Africa in the past three years; France has condemned the latest events.
The coup comes amid growing tensions in Gabon following the disputed election. The opposition has alleged widespread fraud, and there have been protests in the streets of the capital, Libreville.
The military has not yet released a statement explaining the reasons for the coup. However, it is likely that the officers were unhappy with the results of the election and felt that Bongo’s victory was illegitimate.
The coup is a major setback for Gabon, which has been relatively stable in recent years. It is also a blow to France, which has close ties to Gabon and has been a major investor in the country.
The international community is closely watching the situation in Gabon. The United Nations has called for calm and restraint, and the African Union has urged the military to respect the constitution.
It is unclear what will happen next in Gabon. The military has said that it will hold elections in the coming months, but it is not clear whether the opposition will accept the results. The coup has also raised concerns about the stability of other former French colonies in Africa.