The identities of the 12 Gabonese senior military officers who announced the overthrow of the 56 year-old Bongo family dynasty in the country are yet unknown.
However, their coup speech which was contained in their brief address on national TV (Gabon 24) on Wednesday morning, has sent shockwaves to the hearts of many.
The officers introduced themselves as members of The Committee of Transition and the Restoration of Institutions.
One of them said, “In the name of the Gabonese people … we have decided to defend the peace by putting an end to the current regime.”
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 for his third term in office, 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”.
Consequently, they declared the state institutions dissolved, including 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.”
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 mutiny soldiers sent to prison.