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Another Sub-Sahara African Coup d'etat: Soldiers Sack President of Garbon


IN A development that further raises worry for democracy in Africa, a group of military officers have removed the elected president of Garbon, Ali Bongo.

Appearing on national television, earlier today (Wednesday) the group of Gabonese soldiers said they had taken power, minutes after the country's election body announced that President Bongo had won a third term in office.

During their appearance on the television channel, Gabon 24 in the nation's capital Libreville, the striking soldiers claimed that they represented all security and defence forces in the Central African country.

They announced their cancelation of the general election's results, closed all borders until further notice and dissolved the leadership of all government institutions.

“In the name of the Gabonese people," stated the soldiers, "we have decided to defend the peace by putting an end to the current regime.” 

One officer, flanked by about a dozen others dressed in military gear, who stood silently behind him, read the statement.

The servicemen introduced themselves as members of The Committee of Transition and the Restoration of Institutions.

The disolved institutions comprise the executive arm of government, the senate, the national assembly, the judiciary and the election body.

The Gabonese Election Centre earlier on Wednesday, the 64-year-old Bongo winner of the presidential election with 64.27 per cent of the votes cast while his nearest challenger, of 18 opposition candidates, Albert Ondo Ossa, secured 30.77 per cent of the ballots.

The democratic government of Garbon is yet to comment on the development as at press time.

The coup in Garbon marks the eighth in Sub-Sahara Africa within three years.

There have been forceful military takeover of government, against democratically elected regimes in Niger, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Chad.

The development in Garbon comes up in a very curious time when the anxiety and tensions generated by a recent coup de tat in Nigeria Republic is still high as the Economic Committee of West African States (ECOWAS) is sunk deep in plans to salvage the ousted democratic government.

There were intense  anxiety in Gabon after last Saturday’s general elections (presidential, parliamentary, and legislative polls) in which Mr. Bongo whose father, Omar Bongo had earlier ruled the oil-producing country for over four decades, ran for  a third consecutive tenure as president. The Gabornese opposition pushed for change, claiming that the largely poor masses of the nation are not benefiting from the oil, cocoa and solid minerals' endowment of the land.

Last weekend's polls were also largely discredited by issues of lack of transparency in the electoral process such as the absence of international observers, the suspension of some foreign broadcasters and the authorities’ decision to cut internet service and impose a night-time curfew nationwide after the polls.

Bongo succeeded his father Omar as president in 2009.

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