Faces of Gabonese soldiers who toppled Ali Bongo, their coup speech [Video]

Gabonese coup plotters on TV
Gabonese military officers on TV

The identities of the 12 Gabonese military officers who announced the overthrow of the 56 year-old Bongo family dynasty in the country are unknown yet.

But their message contained in their brief speech on national TV, Gabon 24 has been resonating across the country and Africa.

The officers introduced themselves as members of The Committee of Transition and the Restoration of Institutions.

“In the name of the Gabonese people … we have decided to defend the peace by putting an end to the current regime,” the officers said in a statement.

As one officer read the joint statement, around a dozen others stood silently behind him in military fatigues and berets.

The soldiers said they were annulling the results of Saturday’s election, in which President Ali Bongo was declared the winner with 64.27% of the vote, while his main challenger, Albert Ondo Ossa, was allocated 30.77%.

The opposition which had declared Bongo’s victory fraudulent, had also claimed victory.

The 12 putschists announced the annulment of the election and dissolved “all the institutions of the republic”.

The state institutions they declared dissolved included the government, the senate, the national assembly, the constitutional court and the election body.

One of the soldiers said on Gabon 24: “After observing irresponsible, unpredictable governance resulting in a continuing deterioration in social cohesion that risks leading the country into chaos… we have decided to defend peace by putting an end to the current regime,” one of the soldiers said on TV channel Gabon 24.

Mr Bongo came to power when his father Omar died in 2009. Omar El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba was the second president of Gabon for almost 42 years, from 1967 until his death in 2009.

The younger Bongo suffered a stroke in 2018 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.

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