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JUST IN: Soldiers take over power in Gabon, cancel presidential poll



The military  in the early hours of Wednesday announced take over of government in Gabon.

A group of senior Gabonese soldiers appeared on national television and said they had taken power, minutes after the state election body announced President Ali Bongo had won a third term.

Appearing on television channel Gabon 24 in the early hours on Wednesday, the officers said they represented all security and defence forces in the Central African nation.

They said the election results were cancelled with all borders closed until further notice and state institutions dissolved.

According to Reuters, loud sounds of gunfire  was heard in the capital Libreville on Wednesday morning.

There was no immediate comment from the government of the OPEC-member nation.

There were no immediate reports on the whereabouts of Bongo, who was last seen in public when he cast his vote in the election on Saturday.



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

As one officer read the joint statement, about a dozen others stood silently behind him in military fatigues and berets.

As in previous general elections in Gabon, there were serious concerns about the process in Saturday’s vote.

Main opposition candidate Albert Ondo Ossa complained that many polling stations lacked ballot papers bearing his name while the coalition he represents said the names of some of those who had withdrawn from the presidential race were still on the ballot sheet.

The development came after the military take- over in Niger with ECOWAS, international organisations and western powers calling for return to civilian rule.