Gabon is in a state of unrest as the army takes over power and cancelled the Saturday election results which declared the current president, Ali Bongo as winner yet again. Going by records, this will be Bongo’s third term in office and the 53rd year that Gabon has been ruled by the Ali Bongo family and administration.
Army officers have appeared on national television in Gabon to say they have taken power and that the general election was not credible and the results are therefore annulled.
Prior to the incident, Gabon’s national electoral body released the results of Saturday’s election saying that Bongo had won just under two-thirds of the votes in the election and thus, President Ali Bongo from the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party was re-elected for a third term.
Elisabeth Borne, Prime Minister of France said her country is monitoring the situation and following it up closely; while the European Union’s foreign policy chief said a military takeover would increase instability in the already unstable AAfrica. “This is a big issue for Europe,” said Josep Borrell.
Gabon officially became a French colony in 1885 as part of the scramble for Africa, and although France granted Gabon independence in 1960, it has continually exploited Gabon of her mineral resources till date.
Gabon is rich in Uranium, petroleum, natural gas, diamond, niobium, manganese, gold, timber, iron ore, hydropower, and several other natural resources. For 40 years, France mined uranium in Gabon which was used for electricity production in France and much of Europe.
Meanwhile, French mining group Eramet, has announced that it had stopped all work in the country for security reasons.
The soldiers who took to national television to announce the coup said they were from the Committee of Transition and the Restoration of Institutions and they represent security and defence forces in the country. “We have decided to defend peace by putting an end to the current regime,” said one of the soldiers.
Sound of gun shot coming from Libreville, Gabon’s capital could be heard following the broadcast.
Comments from people and the internet are captured below
“Glory to God, Gabon is free”
53yrs of darkness… Gone with the Wind!*
“Thank you, army. Finally, we’ve been waiting a long time for this moment,”
Singing the national anthem with soldiers, a mob took to the streets to celebrate the end of Bongo’s reign.
There is no response yet from the ousted government following the soldiers’ announcement and the whereabouts of Ali Bongo are unknown.
Also, internet access in the country was suspended after Saturday’s election for obvious security reasons, but was restored shortly after the military takeover. Also, a curfew is now in place.