After President Ali Bongo was re-elected to a third term in Gabon, army officers appeared on national television to declare that they had seized power.
According to the BBC, the officers said they were annulling the results of Saturday’s election which the opposition had denounced as “fraudulent”.
Twelve soldiers announced that they were dissolving “all the institutions of the republic”.
“We have decided to defend peace by putting an end to the current regime,” one of the soldiers was quoted as saying on TV channel Gabon 24.
The soldier cited “irresponsible, unpredictable governance resulting in a continuing deterioration in social cohesion that risks leading the country into chaos”.
Introducing themselves as members of the Committee of Transition and Restoration of Institutions (CTRI), the soldiers also announced closure of the country’s borders.
The Gabonese Election Centre (CGE) had declared Bongo winner of the election on Wednesday with 64.27% of the votes cast.
Albert Ossa, Bongo’s biggest competitor, polled second with 30.77%, according to CGE president Michel Bonda.
Ossa’s charges of electoral fraud and anomalies have been dismissed by Bongo’s staff.
Following the presidential and parliamentary elections, tensions in Gabon have been high, with worries of upheaval.
A nationwide curfew was imposed at night, and the internet was shut off following the election.
The overthrow of Bongo would terminate his family’s 53-year reign. When his father, Omar, died in 2009, he became president.
Bongo, 64, suffered a stroke in 2018 that incapacitated him for about a year, prompting calls for him to stand down.
There was a coup attempt on Bongo in 2019. Soldiers who participated in the attempted putsch were imprisoned.