Navy officers on Wednesday declared they have been seizing energy in Gabon, shortly after President Ali Bongo was deemed the victor of a contested election, extending his household’s half-century rule over the Central African nation.
The officers, claiming to symbolize “protection and safety forces” within the nation, made the announcement in a televised deal with on information channel Gabon24. It was considered by CNN on X, previously often called Twitter.
“On behalf of the Gabonese folks and guarantor of the safety of establishments, CTRI [the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions] has determined to defend peace by placing an finish to the regime in place,” a navy officer mentioned on the printed.
CNN can’t independently affirm the video, and has not but been in a position to attain Gabon’ authorities for remark.
Within the broadcast, the navy officer mentioned the election outcomes could be voided and the nation’s borders could be shut.
“All of the establishments of the republic are dissolved: specifically the federal government, the Senate, the Nationwide Meeting, the Constitutional Court docket, Financial and Social and Environmental Council, and the Elections Council of Gabon,” the officer mentioned.
“We name on the inhabitants of Gabon, the communities of neighboring international locations dwelling in Gabon, in addition to the Gabonese diaspora, to stay calm.”
Loud sounds of gunfire might be heard within the capital Libreville, a Reuters reporter mentioned, following the tv look.
Folks in Gabon have been seen dancing and celebrating on the streets of its capital, in response to movies shared with CNN and posted on social media.
In a single video obtained by CNN, folks might be seen shouting “liberated!” and waving the Gabon flag within the Nzeng Ayong district of the capital, alongside navy autos.
5 international locations in western and central Africa have already been seized by navy juntas up to now three years, 5 of them former French colonies. Coups in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger have undermined democratic progress in recent times.
Most lately, Niger’s navy junta seized management of the West African nation in late July, prompting the African Union to droop Niger’s membership within the group of 55 member states. Earlier this month, Niger’s navy ruler proposed a return to democracy inside three years, saying the ideas of the transition could be determined throughout the subsequent 30 days.
Earlier Wednesday, Gabon’s election physique mentioned Bongo had received the presidential election with 64.27% of the vote, Reuters reported, after a delay-plagued normal election that the opposition denounced as fraudulent.
Bongo’s most important challenger, Albert Ondo Ossa, got here in second place with 30.77%, mentioned the election physique. Bongo’s group had rejected Ondo Ossa’s allegations of electoral irregularities.
Ali Bongo, 64, took over from his father, Omar Bongo, who died of cardiac arrest whereas receiving therapy for intestinal most cancers in a Spanish clinic in 2009, following almost 42 years in workplace.
The elder Bongo got here into energy in 1967, seven years after the nation’s independence from France.
He dominated over the small nation with an iron fist, imposing a one-party system for years and solely permitting multi-party rule in 1991, although his get together retained its grip on authorities.
On this week’s election Ali Bongo had 18 challengers, six of whom had backed Ondo Ossa, a former minister and college professor, in an effort to slim the race. Many within the opposition have been pushing for change within the oil-rich however poverty-stricken nation of two.3 million.
Tensions have been operating excessive amid fears of unrest after Saturday’s vote, with worldwide observers complaining of an absence of transparency.
Forward of the election, the non-profit Reporters With out Borders condemned the Gabonese authorities for obstructing overseas press protection of the occasion.
The EU’s overseas coverage chief Josep Borrell mentioned on Wednesday that “if (the state of affairs in Gabon) is confirmed (that) it’s one other navy coup,” it could “improve instability in the entire area.”
“It’s a difficulty that might be placed on desk and we’ll talk about it,” Borrell advised reporters forward of an EU ministerial assembly on protection held in Toledo, Spain.
“The entire space beginning with Central African Republic, then Mali, then Burkina Faso, now Niger, perhaps Gabon, it’s a really troublesome state of affairs,” Borrell mentioned. “Protection ministers and overseas ministers should have a deep thought on what’s going on there. And the way we will enhance coverage with these international locations.”
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne mentioned her nation was following the state of affairs in Gabon “very carefully.”
That is removed from the primary time Gabon has seen an influence battle or unrest over Bongo’s rule, which has continuously been disputed by critics.
In 2016, the parliament constructing was torched when violent road protests erupted towards Bongo’s contested re-election for his second time period. The federal government shut down web entry for a number of days on the time.
A coup try got here in 2019, when a gaggle of troopers and navy officers stormed the state radio and tv headquarters, took employees hostage, and declared that they had taken management of the nation.
They cited their dissatisfaction with Bongo as president, vowing to “restore democracy” within the nation – earlier than Gabonese protection and safety forces moved in to finish the takeover and rescue the hostages. Two troopers have been killed and eight navy officers arrested consequently.