The United States and Britain have condemned the military coup in Gabon in Central Africa. At the same time, both countries said yesterday that they were concerned about concerns about the recent elections and reports of possible irregularities.
The United Nations and the African Union had earlier condemned the coup. The crisis in Gabon will also concern a meeting of EU foreign ministers in the Spanish city of Toledo.
Doubts about election results
The military in Gabon announced that it had ousted the Bongo family, which had ruled as an autocrat for decades, after Ali Bongo was said to have been elected to a third term, according to official results from elections held over the weekend. There are serious doubts as to whether the elections were free, independent and fair in the Central African nation on the Atlantic coast.
US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said: “We strongly oppose military takeovers or unconstitutional transfers of power.” Those responsible are called upon to release government officials and their families and ensure their safety. The British Foreign Office issued a similar statement.
The Chief of the Presidential Security Force becomes the Interim President
The rulers named Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, head of the presidential security force, as the new ruler. The Bongo family, which has ruled autocratically for more than 50 years, has long been accused of corruption. According to the NGO Transparency International, they are said to be one of the richest families in the world and own dozens of residences in France worth millions of euros. Despite its oil wealth, the country’s approximately 2.3 million people live in extreme poverty.
A month ago, the presidential guard in Niger impeached the democratically elected president, Mohamed Basoum. The military previously seized power in Mali and Burkina Faso in the Sahel region.
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