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Chronicle Of The Gabon Coup: Unfolding Events Explained

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Chronicle Of The Gabon Coup: Unfolding Events Explained

The nation’s economic and social challenges have led to disillusionment, with nearly 40% of Gabonese people aged 15-24

Gabon experienced a pivotal election on August 26th, anticipated to bring positive change. As citizens awoke on that Saturday, they engaged in the general election, which was marred by opposition claims of lacking authenticity.

The initial outcome saw President Ali Bongo triumph in the election, as announced in the early hours of Wednesday. However, the situation quickly escalated when the military announced a sudden takeover, plunging the nation into uncertainty.

The military’s announcement followed closely after the national election authority confirmed Bongo’s victory for a third term, securing 64.27 percent of the vote in Saturday’s election.

In a shocking turn of events, mutinying soldiers revealed the dissolution of the government, including pivotal institutions, throwing the country into disarray. The group comprised members from the gendarme, republican guard, and other security forces.

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Notably, before the military’s intervention, Bongo’s main rival, Albert Ondo Ossa, secured just 30.77 per cent of the vote, as indicated in the results.

Private intelligence firm Ambrey reported a standstill in operations at Libreville’s main port, as authorities denied clearance for vessels to depart. The status of airlines operating in the country remained uncertain.

If successful, this coup would mark Central Africa’s first such instance in recent memory. Gabon, a country known for its affluence due to oil revenue and a relatively small population of 2.3 million, now faces a critical juncture in its political history.

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While Gabon maintains close ties with France, the country has witnessed a wave of coups across West African nations, including Burkina Faso and Mali. The current situation underscores the central African region’s vulnerability to political upheaval.

In an Independence Day speech on August 17th, President Bongo reassured the nation that he would not allow Gabon to fall victim to destabilization efforts, even amid continent-wide turmoil.

Toppling President Bongo would bring an end to his family’s 56-year rule, potentially reshaping Gabon’s political landscape. Unlike some of its West African counterparts, Gabon has largely avoided the scourge of jihadi violence, contributing to its reputation for relative stability.

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However, the nation’s economic and social challenges have led to disillusionment, with nearly 40% of Gabonese people aged 15-24 unemployed in 2020, according to the World Bank.

Gabon, as a member of the OPEC oil cartel, wields significant influence in crude oil production, ranking as the eighth-largest sub-Saharan African oil producer with a daily output of approximately 181,000 barrels.

Amidst growing anti-French sentiment in former colonies, President Bongo’s meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in late June symbolized a complex relationship. France’s presence in the country, with around 400 troops, further adds to the intricate dynamics at play.

Buhari Olanrewaju Ahmed, a seasoned investigative journalist and climate/environmental reporter with a decade of experience, unravels complex issues and amplifies critical voices. His in-depth investigative work and insightful reporting have earned him recognition as a trusted source of information. Ahmed's unwavering commitment to journalism and exceptional storytelling prowess make him a standout figure in investigative journalism. His work drives meaningful conversations, influences policy decisions, and inspires collective efforts toward a sustainable future.

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