The leaders of the coup in Gabon have named Republican Guard chief General Brice Oligui Nguema transitional president, according to a TV statement, after the military seized control in the wake of elections.
"General Oligui Nguema Brice was unanimously appointed chairman of the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions, chairman of the transition," declared an officer in the presence of dozens of senior officers, according to the press release read out on Gabon 24 on Wednesday.
If successful, the Gabon coup would be the eighth in West and Central Africa since 2020 and end the Bongo family's 56-year grip on power. It follows Saturday's election, whose results, including Bongo's announced victory, the military officers said had been annulled.
Asking help from int'l community
Detained Gabonese President Ali Bongo, speaking from apparent house arrest on Wednesday, asked the international community to "make noise" to support him and his family in a video shared widely online after military officers declared they had seized power.
The video was confirmed as authentic by BTP Advisors, a PR firm that has worked closely with Bongo on his election campaign.
"The people here have arrested me and my family. My son is somewhere, my wife is in another place ... Right now, I’m at the residence and nothing is happening. I don’t know what’s going on," Bongo said in English, addressing the camera from a chair in what looked like a richly furnished state room.
"I (want) to send a message to all the friends we have all over the world to tell them to make noise."
He was smartly dressed and showed no outward signs of mistreatment. He spoke calmly, pausing occasionally as if searching for the right words to convey the urgency of his message.
Military officers announced on national television earlier that the armed forces had taken control and placed Bongo under house arrest.
His son, Noureddin Bongo Valentin, and others had also been arrested, the officers said.