Libreville, Aug 30 (IANS) Gabonese military officers have cancelled election results and dissolved state institutions, claiming that they have taken power, just hours after the country’s poll body had announced that President Ali Bongo Ondimba was re-elected for a third term, local media reported on Wednesday.
The Central African nation’s borders have been closed until further notice, Xinhua news agency quoted the reports as saying.
The local media added that gunfire was heard in the capital Libreville.
The officers said that the general election was not credible and the results stoodannulled.
Shortly before the coup announcement, the electoral commission had said that Ondimba from the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party had been re-elected for a third term in the August 26 election.
Ondimba’s overthrow would end his family’s 53-year hold on power in Gabon.
There was no immediate response by the government to the soldiers’ announcement.
As in previous general elections in Gabon, there were serious concerns about the process in the August 27 vote, reports the BBC.
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lacked ballot papers bearing his name, while the coalition he represents said the names of some of those who had withdrawn from the presidential race had still been on the ballot sheet.
According to Reporters Without Borders, foreign media was banned from entering the country to cover the election.
As polls closed, the government announced a curfew and suspension of internet access for security reasons.
Ondimba came to power when his father Omar died in 2009.
In 2018, he suffered a stroke which sidelined him for almost a year and led to calls for him to step aside.
The following year, a failed coup attempt saw mutinying soldiers sent to prison.