August 31, 2023

Military Coup in Africa's Gabon Takes Over Government

Military leaders in Gabon, a country in central Africa, have taken over the power of the government.

The Wednesday announcement came after the military force took over the leadership of President Ali Bongo Ondimba, whose family has led the nation since the 1960s.

“Today, 30 August 2023, we … on behalf of the people of Gabon and as guarantors of the institutions’ protection — have decided to defend peace by putting an end to the current regime," the military group said in a statement.

“All the institutions of the Republic are dissolved: the government, the Senate, the National Assembly, the Constitutional Court, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, and the Gabonese Elections Centre,” the statement continued.

“We call for calm and serenity from the public, the communities of sister countries settled in Gabon, and the Gabonese diaspora. We reaffirm our commitment to respecting Gabon’s commitments to the national and international community," the statement added.

"Within hours, generals met to discuss who would lead the transition and agreed by unanimous vote to appoint General Brice Oligui Nguema, former head of the presidential guard, according to another televised address," Reuters reported.

"Meanwhile, from detention in his residence, Bongo appealed in a video statement to foreign allies, imploring them to speak out on his and his family's behalf. He said he did not know what was happening," it added.

The coup marked a major change after Bongo was declared the winner of the nation's presidential vote held on Saturday.

The takeover comes after another recent coup in the African nation of Niger. It also marks the eighth coup in Africa in the past three years.

The concerns continue to grow but many citizens in Gabon appear happy to see the long-time leaders of the nation out of power and in new hands.

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