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Military coup in Gabon after presidential election, president Ali Bongo under house arrest

Gabonese military appear on television as they announce that they have seized power following President Ali Bongo Ondimba's re-election, in this screengrab obtained by Reuters on August 30, 2023. Gabon 1ere/Handout via REUTERS

Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba is being detained at home and one of his sons has been arrested for “treason,” military officers said Wednesday, hours after announcing they had overthrown the government.

“President Ali Bongo is under house arrest, surrounded by his family and doctors,” they said in a statement read out on state TV.

Bongo’s son and close adviser Noureddin Bongo Valentin, his chief of staff Ian Ghislain Ngoulou as well as his deputy, two other presidential advisers and the two top officials in the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) “have been arrested,” a military leader said.

They are accused of treason, embezzlement, corruption and falsifying the president’s signature, among other allegations, he said.

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Earlier on Wednesday, military officers said they had toppled Bongo, who has been in power for 14 years, hours after he had been declared the victor in Saturday’s elections.

In a televised statement, they said the vote results had been canceled and “all the institutions of the republic” dissolved.

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