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Gabon’s Military Officers Place President Under House Arrest

August 30, 2023








In a dramatic coup that has sent shockwaves through Gabon, military officers have wrested control from President Ali Bongo Ondimba, ending the family’s decades-long rule over the central African nation. The takeover unfolded on Wednesday as soldiers in army uniforms took to national television to announce President Bongo’s house arrest, marking the beginning of their military intervention.

Although the streets of the capital erupted in celebration at the news, condemnation echoed internationally. An unnamed junta spokesperson declared on state TV, “Ali Bongo Ondimba is being kept under house arrest,” revealing that the ousted president was in the company of his family and doctors.








General Brice Oligui Nguema, the apparent leader of the coup, was hailed by soldiers in Libreville, as evidenced in footage from Agence France-Presse. Despite being greeted with jubilation at home, the coup has faced criticism abroad.

This swift move followed the announcement of President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s contested victory in a disputed election. The military officers, representing the “defense and security forces,” declared their intention to safeguard institutions and “put an end to the regime in place.”

The soldiers pledged to nullify the election results and seal the country’s borders. The dissolution of several critical institutions, including the government, Senate, National Assembly, Constitutional Court, Economic and Social and Environmental Council, and Elections Council, was also declared in the televised address.

Gunfire resounded in Libreville after the broadcast, according to a Reuters reporter on the scene. Videos circulating on social media depicted joyful scenes in the streets, with people dancing and waving the Gabonese flag.

Amid the escalating situation, France, a former colonial power, denounced the unfolding “military coup d’etat.” The French government emphasized the importance of respecting election results and urged attention to the evolving situation on the ground.

Gabon now joins a series of former French colonies, including Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Tunisia, that have witnessed military takeovers in recent years, posing challenges to democratic progress.








The coup comes after a fraught election process in Gabon, which saw President Ali Bongo Ondimba declared the winner with over 64% of the vote. The opposition criticized the election, citing irregularities and fraudulent practices.

Ali Bongo’s ascent to power followed his father’s lengthy rule. Omar Bongo, who ruled Gabon for nearly 42 years, held an authoritarian grip over the nation. Ali Bongo, 64, took over in 2009 after his father’s death.

This coup marks another chapter in Gabon’s history of political instability, adding to previous power struggles and unrest that have tested the nation’s political fabric. As the nation grapples with this unexpected transition, the international community watches closely to gauge the implications for Gabon and the broader region.

Credit: CNN

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