Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba is under house arrest and one of his sons has been arrested for “treason”, military officers said Wednesday, hours after announcing they had overthrown the government.
Bongo has been in power for 14 years, after being first elected in 2009 following the death of his father who had ruled the country for 41 years.
The announcement came in the middle of an overnight curfew and amid a nationwide internet shutdown, imposed by Bongo’s government as polling drew to a close on Saturday to prevent the spread of “false news” and possible violence.
Internet was restored on Wednesday morning after the TV address.
“Today, the country is going through a serious institutional, political, economic and social crisis,” the officer said on TV channel Gabon 24.
He said the recent election “did not meet the conditions for a transparent, credible and inclusive ballot so much hoped for by the people of Gabon.
“We have decided to defend peace by putting an end to the current regime,” the officer said, adding that he was speaking on behalf of the “Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions”.
“To this end, the general elections of 26 August 2023 and the truncated results are cancelled,” he added.