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Senior Gabonese military officers appeared on the National TV and said they have taken power. A group of 12 military officers made the announcement shortly after Gabon’s election body reported on Wednesday morning that President Ali Bongo had won a third term in office.

Gabon’s borders have been closed indefinitely, the soldiers announced on the state-run Gabon 24 TV channel. The borders are closed until further notice, said one of the soldiers speaking on behalf of a “Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions.” They said the country is on the road to happiness and added that Libreville will honour all its commitments to the national and international community. Coup leaders said President Ali Bongo is under house arrest.

Internet which had been shut for three days has been restored. It was shut down by President Bongo’s government since Saturday night, to prevent the spread of false news and possible violence as the election drew to a close.

Many people were seen celebrating on the streets of Libreville.

France is following events in Gabon with the greatest attention, said the French PM. On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron had denounced what he called an epidemic of coups in recent years in French-speaking Africa from Mali and Burkina Faso to Guinea and Niger.

China has called on all sides in Gabon to ensure the safety of President Ali Bongo Ondimba.

The reported military takeover in Gabon follows similar takeovers in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, coup attempts in Guinea, instability in the Central African Republic and a civil war in Sudan. According to an analyst in Afripolitika, the coup in Gabon is about the “electoral process.”

The French mining group Eramet said it had stopped its operations in Gabon. It employs 8,000 people and its local subsidiary extracts Manganese from Moanda mines, the world’s largest Manganese mine. French energy major TotalEnergies said it has made arrangements for the safety of its people and operations in Gabon.

MitKat Advisory continues to monitor events across the globe with a view to helping global organisations pre-empt and manage operational risks.

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