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My India First

Gabon Army Declares New Chief of Nation; Places President Beneath Home Arrest

Military officers within the central African nation of Gabon mentioned they seized energy Wednesday, positioned President Ali Bongo Ondimba underneath home arrest, and named the nation’s new chief.

Common Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, chief of the Republican Guard, was designated president of the transitional committee.

Oligui is Bongo’s cousin. He had been a bodyguard for Bongo’s late father, President Omar Bongo, and was the pinnacle of the key service earlier than turning into the chief of the guard.

The mutinous troopers introduced the coup on nationwide tv simply moments after the nation’s election fee declared that Bongo had received a 3rd time period in Saturday’s basic elections.

The officers mentioned that the election outcomes had been invalidated, all state establishments dissolved, and all borders closed till additional discover.

“We now have determined to defend the peace by placing an finish to the present regime,” one of many officers mentioned.

Crowds have fun in streets

At first it was not clear who led the coup try. Nevertheless, video on state tv confirmed a person in fatigues being carried by troopers shouting, “Oligui president,” a reference to Brice Oligui Nguema, the pinnacle of Gabon’s Republican Guard.

Bongo later appeared in a video calling on “associates of Gabon” to “make some noise” to assist him. The 64-year-old president, seated in a chair, mentioned he was at his residence and that his spouse and son had been elsewhere.

This video seize exhibits coup supporters cheering law enforcement officials in Libreville, Gabon, Aug. 30, 2023.

However the crowds that poured into the streets of the capital, Libreville, celebrated the information of the president’s removing, with a number of demonstrators saying they had been glad the Bongo household was out of energy.

FILE - Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Sept. 21, 2022. Nearly a dozen soldiers took to state television on Aug. 30, 2023, saying they were overturning the presidential election.

FILE – Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba addresses the 77th session of the United Nations Common Meeting at U.N. headquarters, Sept. 21, 2022. Practically a dozen troopers took to state tv on Aug. 30, 2023, saying they had been overturning the presidential election.

Bongo took workplace in 2009 after the loss of life of his father, Omar Bongo, who had dominated the oil-producing nation for the earlier 42 years.

Opponents say the household has didn’t share the nation’s oil and mining wealth with its 2.3 million individuals.

Gabon is a former French colony and certainly one of its closest allies in Africa.

“France condemns the army coup that’s underway in Gabon and is intently monitoring developments,” French authorities spokesperson, Olivier Veran, mentioned Wednesday. Veran restated France’s dedication to free and clear elections, as did Nice Britain and Canada. France has about 400 troops in Gabon.

Nevertheless, in response to a French accountability group, 9 members of the Bongo household are underneath investigation in France, and a few face preliminary costs linked to corruption. The household has been linked to greater than $92 million in properties in France, together with two villas in Good, in response to the group.

Web curtailed, curfew imposed

Gunfire was heard all through Libreville after the officers’ preliminary tv look. The U.S. Embassy has suggested Individuals within the capital to shelter in place and restrict pointless actions.

Flights out of Libreville have been canceled, and the town’s port has halted operations.

Saturday’s elections had been overshadowed by an absence of worldwide observers, elevating considerations about transparency.

Afterward, Bongo’s authorities curtailed web service and imposed a nightly curfew throughout the nation, saying it was crucial to forestall the unfold of misinformation.

Web entry gave the impression to be at the very least partially restored after the coup announcement.

The declared coup comes on the heels of final month’s army overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger, the newest in a sequence of coups throughout West and Central Africa since 2020. Bongo survived an tried army takeover in January 2019 as he was recovering from a stroke.

Some data for this report got here from The Related Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse.

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