Gabon president under house arrest, say coup leaders-UPDATED

Gabon president under house arrest, say coup leaders-UPDATED
# 30 August 2023 14:21 (UTC +04:00)

Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba is under house arrest and one of his sons has been arrested for “treason”, military officers said Wednesday, hours after announcing they had overthrown the government, APA reports.

“President Ali Bongo is under house arrest, surrounded by his family and doctors,” they said in a statement read out on state TV.

The coup attempt came hours after the Central African country’s president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, 64, was declared the winner of an election marred by fears of violence.

Within minutes of the announcement, gunfire was heard in the center of the capital, Libreville. Later, a dozen uniformed soldiers appeared on state television and announced that they had seized power.

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A group of senior Gabonese military officers appeared on national television in the early hours of Wednesday and said they had taken power, minutes after the state election body announced President Ali Bongo had won a third term, APA reports citing Reuters.

Appearing on television channel Gabon 24, the officers said they represented all security and defence forces in the Central African nation. They said the election results were cancelled, all borders closed until further notice and state institutions dissolved.

There was no immediate comment from the government of the OPEC-member nation. There were no immediate reports on the whereabouts of Bongo, who was last seen in public when he cast his vote in the election on Saturday.

"In the name of the Gabonese people ... we have decided to defend the peace by putting an end to the current regime," the officers said in a statement.

The servicemen introduced themselves as members of The Committee of Transition and the Restoration of Institutions. The state institutions they declared dissolved included the government, the senate, the national assembly, the constitutional court and the election body.

Last month, the military snatched power in Niger.