(Reuters) – A group of senior military officers in Gabon said 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.
Below are reactions to what appeared to be the eighth military coup in West and Central Africa since 2020.
AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION
“The Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, is following with great concern the situation in the Gabonese Republic and strongly condemns the attempted coup d’etat in the country as a way out of its current post-electoral crisis.
“He calls on the national army and the security forces … to guarantee the personal safety of the President of the Republic, the members of his family and those of his government.”
NIGERIA PRESIDENT AND WEST AFRICAN REGIONAL BLOC ECOWAS CHAIR BOLA TINUBU’S SPOKESPERSON
“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is watching developments in Gabon very closely with deep concern for the country’s socio-political stability and the seeming autocratic contagion apparently spreading across different regions of our beloved continent.
“The President is working very closely and continuing to communicate with other heads of state in the African Union toward a comprehensive consensus on the next steps forward.”
COMMONWEALTH SECRETARY-GENERAL PATRICIA SCOTLAND
“It is deeply concerning to hear reports of an illegal takeover of power in Gabon.
“The Commonwealth Charter is clear that member states must uphold the rule of law and the principles of democracy at all times and the Commonwealth Secretariat will be keenly monitoring the situation.”
FRENCH GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON OLIVIER VERAN
“We condemn the military coup and recall our commitment to free and transparent elections.”
CHINA FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON WANG WENBIN
“China closely follows the development of the situation in Gabon and calls on relevant parties in Gabon to focus on the fundamental interests of the country and the people, resolve differences peacefully through dialogue, and restore normal order as soon as possible. And also ensure the personal safety of President Bongo, maintain national peace, stability, and overall development.”
EU HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND SECURITY POLICY JOSEP BORRELL
“If this is confirmed, it is another military coup which increases instability in the whole region.
“The whole area – starting with Central African Republic, then Mali, then Burkina Faso, now Niger, maybe Gabon – it’s in a very difficult situation and certainly the ministers … have to have a deep thought on what is going on there and how we can improve our policy with respect to these countries.”
RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON MARIA ZAKHAROVA
“Moscow has received with concern reports of a sharp deterioration in the internal situation in the friendly African country. We continue to closely monitor the development of the situation and hope for its speedy stabilisation.”
WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN JOHN KIRBY
“It’s deeply concerning to us. We will remain a supporter of the people in the region, a supporter of the people of Gabon and on their demand for democratic governance of course.”
“It’s obviously deeply concerning (to see) yet another country where military officers have taken these dangerous and reckless steps and attempted takeovers of democratically elected governments.”
U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTONIO GUTERRES
“The Secretary-General is following the evolving situation in Gabon very closely. He notes with deep concern the announcement of the election results amidst reports of serious infringements of fundamental freedoms.
He firmly condemns the ongoing coup attempt as a means to resolve the post-electoral crisis.
The Secretary-General reaffirms his strong opposition to military coups.”
(Compiled by Nellie Peyton, Sofia Christensen, Alexander Winning and Anait Miridzhanian; Editing by Sharon Singleton and Andy Sullivan)