WATCH: Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s Desperate Plea from House Arrest Goes Viral
President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon has released a video message, alerting the world that he and his family have been placed under house arrest by military officers. The officers claimed to have overthrown the government, plunging the nation into chaos.
President’s Plea for Help
In the video, President Ali Bongo Ondimba, visibly distressed, pleaded for assistance from the international community. He stated, “I’m Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon, and I’m sending a message to all my friends around the world to make noise. I have been arrested along with my family. My son is somewhere, my wife is in another place, and I’m at the residence. I don’t know what’s going on. I’m calling you to make noise.”
Military Officers’ Claims and Arrests
The military officers asserted that they had taken control of the government. In a statement broadcasted on state TV, they announced President Bongo’s detention at home, surrounded by his family and doctors. Furthermore, his son and close advisor, Noureddin Bongo Valentin, along with other high-ranking officials, were arrested on charges of treason, embezzlement, corruption, and falsifying the president’s signature.
Coup Announcement and Chaos
Following the announcement by the military officers, the capital city of Libreville erupted with the sounds of gunfire. The officers, speaking on behalf of all security and defense forces, declared the nullification of the election results, the closure of borders, and the dissolution of state institutions.
Election Tensions and Opposition Allegations
The situation in Gabon had been tense due to recent presidential, parliamentary, and legislative elections, with various factions vying for power. President Bongo sought to extend his family’s long-standing rule, while the opposition called for change in the resource-rich yet economically challenged nation. The Gabonese Election Centre reported Bongo’s victory with 64.27 percent of the vote, while his main rival, Albert Ondo Ossa, received 30.77 percent. However, the opposition accused the election of being a “fraud orchestrated by Ali Bongo and his supporters.”
Transparency Concerns and Media Restrictions
The absence of international observers, the suspension of foreign broadcasts, and the imposition of internet shutdowns and a nationwide curfew after the election raised concerns about the transparency of the voting process. French media outlets, including France 24, RFI, and TV5 Monde, were banned and accused of biased coverage related to the ongoing elections.
As Gabon faces an uncertain future, the world watches closely, awaiting further developments in this rapidly unfolding crisis.
— African (@ali_naka) August 30, 2023