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Gabon: Military Takes Power in Gabon, Announces End of Bongo Family’s 53-Year Rule

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LIBREVILLE, Gabon — Army officers in Gabon on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, appeared on national television to announce that they have seized power, effectively ending President Ali Bongo’s term in office.

The officers declared the annulment of Saturday’s election results, which had confirmed Bongo’s victory.

The coup threatens to end the Bongo family’s 53-year rule over the West African nation.

According to Gabon’s electoral commission, President Ali Bongo had won just under two-thirds of the vote in a highly contested election, which the opposition labeled as fraudulent.

Appearing on Gabon 24, a national television channel, twelve soldiers announced the dissolution of “all the institutions of the republic.”

The spokesperson for the military group said, “We have decided to defend peace by putting an end to the current regime.”

The soldiers criticized “irresponsible, unpredictable governance,” citing a “continuing deterioration in social cohesion” that could plunge the nation into chaos.

Ali Bongo had succeeded his father, Omar Bongo, who passed away in 2009, extending the family’s decades-long control over Gabon.

In 2018, the President suffered a stroke that sidelined him for nearly a year, sparking calls for his resignation.

In 2019, an unsuccessful coup attempt resulted in the imprisonment of mutinying soldiers.

The situation in Gabon remains volatile, and international observers are closely watching the unfolding crisis.

The African Union and other international bodies have yet to release official statements.

The United Nations may convene an emergency session to discuss the situation.

The coup, if successful, could have broader implications for the region, potentially triggering a wave of military takeovers in a continent that has been striving for democratic stability.

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