Coup in Gabon: 5 Top Facts You Need to Know
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News - August 30, 2023

Coup in Gabon: 5 Top Facts You Need to Know

The military leaders in Gabon announced a coup after President Ali Bongo was declared the winner of the presidential election. A declaration that would give him a third term in office. Since Gabon reintroduced a system where multiple parties can participate in 1990, every election has led to violent incidents. After the 2016 election, there were fights between the government’s forces and protestors. 

In January 2019, another set of rebellious soldiers tried to take control through a coup when Lieutenant Kelly Ondo Obiang declared the takeover of authority via national media. This happened while Mr. Bongo was in Morocco getting better from a stroke. The attempt failed as two of the people believed to be planning the coup were killed, and the rest were taken into custody. As more details of the coup continue to unfold, let’s look at some important facts you should know about the military intervention.

Bongo family has ruled for over 53 years 

For more than 55 years, the Bongo family has ruled Gabon. Ali Bongo’s dad, Omar Bongo, was president from 1967 until he passed away in 2009. Ali Bongo, now 64, took over and wanted a third term in the recent election. People in Gabon were unhappy about this because they felt he got his position because of his family. 

Gabon gained its independence from France in 1960, and since then, the Bongo family has controlled the country for most of the time. Omar Bongo amassed great wealth from the country’s oil money which made Ali Bongo grow up in a wealthy family. In 2018, Ali Bongo had a stroke, which raised doubts about his ability to lead and led to a small attempt to take over the government.

President Bongo placed under house arrest

Gabon’s President Bongo is now under house arrest, as announced by an unnamed spokesperson from the junta on Wednesday morning. The spokesperson shared this on TV. President Bongo is with his family and doctors at his home. Later, the spokesperson said they’re looking into allegations against the president’s son, Nourredin Bongo Valentin. Nourredin Bongo Valentin and six others were arrested for “high treason.”

A video was released where President Bongo asked his “friends” to do something after his house arrest. He talked about his family being in different places while he stayed in his home. There was no established circumstance or situation where the video was made.

Gabon citizens celebrate as military seizes power

In the same light, a wave of celebration has swept through Gabon as its citizens and residents take to the streets to revel in the military’s takeover of power. Thousands of Gabonese have filled the streets, proudly waving their national flag and expressing gratitude to their military for leading them to freedom.

A video went viral, showcasing jubilant scenes of citizens celebrating the military coup that ousted President Ali Bongo from his position. The video captures the exuberance of the people as they express their joy over the removal of Bongo from office. The streets of Gabon have become a canvas of jubilation, painted with the expressions of a nation that sees hope in the coup that has taken place.

How have events unfolded since the attempted coup

Following the attempted coup, the military leaders made some important decisions. They announced the cancellation of the election results, closed all borders for an indefinite period, and dissolved the state institutions.

As the events unfolded, reports of gunfire emerged in Libreville, the capital of Gabon, on Wednesday morning. However, the overall situation didn’t seem to be too chaotic. While there were sounds of gunfire, there were no clear indications of widespread unrest or major disturbances. The situation remains tense, and people are watching closely to understand how things will continue to develop in the aftermath of these significant events.

Disapproval of the credibility of general elections

The military junta who doubted the credibility of the general election ousted the president upon announcement that he won the general election. The Gabonese Election Centre (CGE) had previously declared President Bongo as the victor of the election, securing 64.27% of the total votes, on Wednesday. Michel Bonda, the leader of CGE, reported that Albert Ossa, Bongo’s primary rival, secured the second position with 30.77% of the votes. Bongo’s camp dismissed Ossa’s claims of electoral misconduct and inconsistencies.

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