Gabon coup: President Bongo calls for help as army takes power

A really simple take on what’s going on

Emma Owen

Live reporter

Good afternoon. If you’re joining us afresh, or checking back in on the latest developments, this should get you up to speed quickly:

Why was there a coup?

The coup leaders disagreed with the official results of the election, which said President Ali Bongo had won with about two-thirds of the votes.

What’s going on now?

Ali Bongo, 64, is under house arrest. The military is in charge. Hundreds of people have taken to the streets to celebrate.

Where is Gabon?

On the west coast of Africa – it’s about the size of the UK. It’s known for its rich natural resources but a third of its population are said to live in poverty.

Who’s Ali Bongo?

A prominent freemason, a keen football fan and a funk musician in the 1970s. His father was president before him.

That’s a briefer-than-brief guide – read more (but not too much more) in our really simple guide here.

Gabon’s President Ali Bongo has appeared in a video at his home, saying he’s calling on his “friends all over the world” to “make noise” on his behalf.

Early this morning, senior military officers appeared on national TV to say they had seized power – later adding that they’d put the president under house arrest.

They also announced they were annulling the results of Saturday’s election – in which President Bongo was declared the winner – and closing the country’s borders.

It’s unclear who is in charge of the country – the head of the presidential guard denies he’s been installed leader – though he says President Bongo is now “retired.”

Bongo’s overthrow would end his family’s 56-year hold on power in the resource-rich West African country; people have taken to the streets in many cities to celebrate.

This is the eighth coup in former French colonies in Africa in the past three years; France has condemned the latest events.

Culled from


Comments are closed.