The officers announced the coup early Wednesday morning on national television channel Gabon 24, just moments after the nation’s election commission had announced that President Bongo had won a third term in Saturday’s general elections.
The group said that the election results were invalidated, all state institutions dissolved and all borders closed until further notice.
“We have decided to defend the peace by putting an end to the current regime,” one of the officers said.
Bongo first took office in 2009, after the death of his father, Omar Bongo who had become president in 1967.
Saturday’s elections were overshadowed by a lack of international observers, raising concerns about transparency. Afterward, Bongo’s government curtailed internet service and imposed a nightly curfew across the nation, saying it was necessary to prevent the spread of misinformation
Gunfire was heard throughout Gabon’s capital, Libreville, after the television appearance.
The declared coup comes on the heels of last month’s military overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger, the latest in a series of coups across West and Central Africa since 2020. President Bongo survived an attempted military takeover in January 2019 as he was recovering from a stroke.
Some information for this report came from Reuters, Agence France-Presse.