Countries around the world criticized the military takeover in the Central African country of Gabon, while President Ali Bongo called on people to oppose and protest his arrest on Wednesday.
The African Union strongly condemned the coup in Gabon and urged the army to guarantee the physical integrity of the president, his family and those in government.
African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said he is following the situation with great concern.
In a video apparently from detention at his residence, President Ali Bongo Ondimba called on people to “make noise” to support him. But crowds instead took to the streets of the capital and sang the national anthem.
They are celebrating a coup attempt against a dynasty accused of getting rich on the country’s resource wealth while many of its citizens struggle to scrape by.
“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,” a spokesperson for the president said.
Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland called the coup attempt “an illegal takeover of power”.
“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,” she said.
France condemns coup
France condemned the military coup in Gabon, its former colony, the government spokesperson said on Wednesday.
“France is also monitoring the situation with much attention, and wished that the elections results, once announced, would be respected,” Olivier Veran said in a news conference following the Council of Ministers in Paris.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne earlier said that France was monitoring the developments in coup-hit Gabon with the “utmost attention.”
Russia expresses concern
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Moscow has concerns about the situation in Gabon and is monitoring developments.
The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said the situation in Gabon would be discussed by the bloc’s ministers this week.
“If this is confirmed, it’s another military coup, which increases instability in the whole region,” he said.
The head of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, condemned the coup attempt and called on security forces to peacefully return to “democratic constitutional order”.
“He calls on the national army and the security forces … to guarantee the personal safety of the president, the members of his family and those of his government,” a spokesperson for Mahamat said.
US watching Gabon situation
The United States is closely watching the situation in Gabon following the military coup, the latest in a series of undemocratic power seizures in Africa, the White House said Wednesday.
“It’s deeply concerning. We were going to watch this closely, and we’re going to continue to do everything we can to support the idea of democratic ideals that are expressed by the African people,” said White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby.
Italy monitoring developments
Italy’s Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said in a short video on social media platform X that the 150 Italians in Gabon are safe.
“We ask all of them to be highly vigilant and to remain at home,” he added.
He said the crisis unit of the Italian Foreign Ministry and the country’s embassy in Libreville are closely following how the situation in Gabon is evolving.