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Military Officers in Gabon Seize Power, Place Pres. Bongo Under House Arrest Days After Reelection

HeadlineAug 30, 2023

Soldiers in Gabon declared they were seizing power and nullifying recent elections as they took to national television earlier today.

Col. Ulrich Manfoumbi Manfoumbi: “The general elections of August 26, 2023, as well as the truncated results, are canceled. The borders are closed until further notice. All institutions of the republic are dissolved.”

Earlier in the day, Gabon’s national election authority announced President Ali Bongo Ondimba had been reelected for a third term in Saturday’s election, which was marred by delays and decried by opposition leader Albert Ondo Ossa as a fraud. Bongo, who is reportedly being held under house arrest, has already served two seven-year terms, and his family has been in power for over half a century. Critics accuse Bongo of not using the West African nation’s oil and natural resource wealth to improve the lives of one-third of the population living in poverty. The French oil giant TotalEnergies is Gabon’s main distributor of petroleum products. Gabon freed itself from French rule in 1960.

As soldiers drove through the capital Libreville, residents took to the streets to cheer them on. If successful, it would be the eighth coup in West and Central Africa since 2020.

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