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Military announce coup in Gabon as senior officers seize power after presidential election

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A group of senior military officers have announced a coup in Gabon following the country’s presidential election result.

They appeared on the national TV channel Gabon 24 declaring they were seizing power following President Ali Bongo’s victory.

Nearly a dozen soldiers said they represented all security and defence forces in the Central African nation, adding that election results were cancelled, all borders were closed until further notice, and state institutions dissolved.

Sounds of gunfire were also reported in the Gabonese capital Libreville on Wednesday morning.

The officers said: “In the name of the Gabonese people… we have decided to defend the peace by putting an end to the current regime.”

Mr Bongo’s reappointment would have continued the family’s 56-year grip on power of the resource-rich but poverty-hit nation – his father Omar Bongo was its president from 1967 until his death in 2009.

Concerns about the transparency of the election have included the suspension of foreign coverage, the authorities’ decision to cut internet access, and the imposition of a nationwide curfew following the poll.

Every vote held in Gabon since the country’s return to a multi-party system in 1990 has ended in violence.

Clashes between government forces and protesters following the 2016 election killed four people, according to official figures, but opposition groups said the true number killed was higher.

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