A group of senior military officers in Gabon said they had seized power in the early hours of Wednesday, minutes after the Central African state’s election body announced that President Ali Bongo had won a third term. Several foreign powers, including the United States, the UK and France, condemned what appeared to be the eighth military coup in West and Central Africa since 2020. Follow FRANCE 24’s liveblog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
- A group of senior Gabonese military officers appeared on the Gabon 24 TV station early Wednesday and announced the cancellation of the August 26 presidential election, the “end of the regime” and the dissolution of “all institutions of the Republic”.
- The statement came shortly after the results of the presidential election were declared, giving President Ali Bongo 64.2% of the vote and a third term in office.
- Hours later, President Ali Bongo appeared in a video and called on his “friends” to “make noise”. Bongo said he was under house arrest at his residence and that his wife and son were in different places.
- On Wednesday evening, mutinous military officers declared General Brice Oligui Nguema the country’s transitional leader in a statement broadcast on Gabon 24.
- A night-time curfew imposed after the August 26 election has been extended until further notice.
- French media channels France 24, RFI and TV5 Monde, which were suspended in the wake of a tumultuous election period, will resume transmission, said the mutinous soldiers on national TV.
03:05am: Gabon coup triggers dollar bond slump, raises funding questions for region
Gabon’s military coup sparked the steepest daily drop in its dollar bonds on Wednesday since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and came just weeks after the country carried out continental Africa’s first debt-for-nature swap.
A group of senior military officers in the Central African nation announced on TV in the early hours of Wednesday that they had taken control, minutes after the state election body announced that President Ali Bongo had won a third term.
12:30am: UK condemns the military takeover of power in Gabon
The United Kingdom condemns the “unconstitutional military takeover” of power in Gabon and calls for the restoration of constitutional government, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said on Wednesday.
A group of senior military officers in Gabon said they had seized power in the early hours of Wednesday, minutes after the Central African state’s election body announced that President Ali Bongo had won a third term.
9:15pm: Germany condemns coup attempt despite ‘legitimate’ poll concerns
Germany condemned the coup in Gabon on Wednesday while acknowledging there were legitimate concerns with the polls which preceded the military takeover of the Central African nation.
“It is not up to the military to intervene by force in the political process. Gabonese people must be able to autonomously and freely decide their future,” Germany’s foreign ministry said.
8:06pm: Bongo ‘reaching out’ to China, international partners in video message
President Ali Bongo appeared in a video clip earlier Wednesday and speaking in English, called on his “friends” to “make noise” after the coup attempt.
French is the official language in Gabon. But the former French colony joined The Commonwealth last year. Over the past few years, Bongo has been trying to distance himself from France and attract new allies.
Nathaniel Powell, an analyst at the UK-based Oxford Analytica, notes that: “By speaking in English, he [Bongo] is reaching out to his international partners in the English-speaking world – but also to Gabon’s other partners, like China, which is Gabon’s largest investor.”
7:34pm: French media broadcast resumes, curfew extended
More details on the junta’s TV statement coming in: Gabon has resumed broadcast of suspended French media and a nightly curfew has been extended until further notice.
“As of tomorrow (Thursday), Gabonese people will once again be able to freely go about their business between 6am and 6pm (0500 GMT to 1700 GMT). The traffic restriction remains in force from 6 pm to 6 am until further notice,” said a senior officer on local TV.
French media channels, which were suspended the wake of a tumultuous post-election period, will resume transmission, said the officer on national TV.
The “temporary broadcast ban” targeted exclusively French-speaking media – France 24, RFI and TV5 Monde, which were “accused of a lack of objectivity and balance… in connection with the current general elections”.
General Brice Oligui Nguema, who was announced transitional president, ordered the reconnection of international radio and television channels, announced the senior officer on Gabonese TV.
7:30pm: Junta names General Brice Oligui Nguema as ‘transition’ leader
The Gabon junta named General Brice Oligui Nguema as transition leader, soldiers said on national television.
“General Oligui Nguema Brice was unanimously appointed chairman of the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions, chairman of the transition,” declared an officer in the presence of dozens of senior officers, according to the press release read out on Gabon 24.
7:01pm: UN chief condemns Gabon coup attempt
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned the ongoing coup attempt in Gabon and called on all involved to “to exercise restraint, engage in an inclusive and meaningful dialogue, and ensure that the rule of law and human rights are fully respected”, said UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.
“He also calls on the national army and security forces to guarantee the physical integrity of the president of the republic and his family,” Dujarric said.
6:10pm: White House: US is deeply concerned by situation in Gabon
The United States is deeply concerned by events in the oil-producing West African nation of Gabon, where military officers said on Wednesday they had seized power, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said.
Kirby said all US embassy personnel and what he called a small number of troops had been accounted for after the officers said they had put President Ali Bongo under house arrest.
(FRANCE 24 with Reuters, AFP and AP)