Africa Suffers Another Major Shock

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Military officials have staged a coup in Gabon, declaring the election rigged and dissolving the state institutions.

The election was dominated by Ali Bongo, whose family have ruled Gabon ever since 1967. Reuters reports:

A group of senior military officers in Gabon claimed they had seized power in the early hours of Wednesday, minutes after the Central African state’s election body announced that President Ali Bongo had won a third term.

The officers said on television channel Gabon 24 that they represented all Gabonese security and defence forces. They said the election results were cancelled, all borders were closed until further notice and state institutions were dissolved.

This marks yet another coup in Africa in short succession. There are no reports yet to see if Russia is backing the junta. The BBC reports:

If confirmed, this would be the eighth coup in former French colonies in Africa in the past three years.

However, most of the others have been further north, in the Sahel region where an Islamist insurgency has led to rising complaints that the democratically elected governments were failing to protect the civilian populations.

The current wave of coups can be seen as a new era for Africa. Old strongmen with close ties to former colonial overlord France are getting replaced by a younger generation of energetic soldiers.

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