Military officers in Gabon have declared a coup and placed President Ali Bongo Ondimba under house arrest. The coup leaders, who call themselves the Patriotic Movement of the Gabonese Armed Forces (MPGA), said they acted because of concerns about Bongo’s health and fitness to rule.
Bongo has been in France since October 2018 for medical treatment. He has not been seen in public since then, and there have been reports that he is seriously ill.
The MPGA said it had taken control of the government and the media. It also said it had closed the borders and imposed a curfew.
The coup leaders have not said what their plans are for the future of Gabon. They have called for a national dialogue, but it is unclear what that would entail.
The coup has been condemned by the African Union and the United States. The AU called for the immediate release of Bongo and the restoration of constitutional order. The US said it was “deeply concerned” about the situation in Gabon and called for a peaceful resolution.
The coup is the latest in a series of political crises in Gabon. Bongo has been in power since 2009, and his rule has been marked by allegations of corruption and human rights abuses.
The coup is a major setback for Gabon, which is a small oil-rich country on the coast of West Africa. The country is a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
The coup is also a reminder of the fragility of democracy in Africa. In recent years, there have been coups in several African countries, including Mali, Guinea, and Sudan.
The situation in Gabon is fluid, and it is unclear what will happen next. The coup leaders have said they are committed to a peaceful transition, but it is possible that the situation could deteriorate.
The international community is closely monitoring the situation in Gabon and is calling for a peaceful resolution.