In a dramatic turn of events, photos and videos have emerged online and on social media showing jubilant crowds cheering as soldiers pass through the streets of Gabon’s capital, Libreville. The scenes come just hours after military officers declared the overthrow of the government in the Central African nation.
The apparent coup is specifically aimed at President Ali Bongo Ondimba, who has held the reins of power for the past 14 years. The situation escalated after Bongo’s controversial re-election for a third term was recently announced, triggering discontent among segments of the population.
A televised statement by the military confirmed that President Ali Bongo Ondimba had been placed under house arrest, surrounded by his family and medical personnel. The statement also revealed that one of the president’s sons had been detained on charges of “treason.”
The announcement of Bongo’s removal from power was made amidst an overnight curfew and a nationwide internet shutdown, which had been imposed by Bongo’s government the previous week. The restoration of internet services on Wednesday morning followed the military’s televised address.
Gabon, a nation that gained independence from France in 1960, has been marked by an extended period of rule by a single family. The Bongo family has been at the helm of the country for over 55 of its 63 years as an independent nation. The coup attempt reflects the deep-seated tensions within Gabon’s political landscape and the desire for change among certain sections of the population.
As the situation continues to unfold, international actors are closely monitoring developments in Gabon. The apparent coup has implications not only for the country’s political stability but also for regional dynamics. Concerns are raised about potential unrest and the response from both domestic and international stakeholders.
The scenes of cheering crowds and military intervention underscore the complexity of power struggles in the region and the impact of political decisions on the lives of ordinary citizens. The international community waits to see how the situation in Gabon evolves and whether a resolution can be reached to restore stability and ensure the well-being of the nation’s population.