In the aftermath of a military coup that removed ex-president Ali Bongo from power, Gabon’s army has announced its decision to reopen the country’s borders, which had been closed in the wake of the political upheaval.
Colonel Ulrich Manfoumbi Manfoumbi, a spokesperson for Gabon’s military rulers, conveyed this development on state television, stating that they had “decided with immediate effect to reopen the land, sea, and air borders as of this Saturday.” The decision comes after a group of 12 Gabonese soldiers had previously declared, in a statement broadcast on the Gabon 24 television channel, that the country’s borders were closed until further notice.
The coup, led by General Brice Oligui Nguema, the head of the elite Republican Guard, occurred shortly after President Ali Bongo Ondimba, who belongs to a family that had ruled Gabon for 55 years, was declared the victor in presidential elections over the weekend. However, the opposition had branded the election results as fraudulent.
As part of their coup, the military leaders announced the dissolution of the nation’s institutions, cancellation of the election results, and the closure of Gabon’s borders. General Brice Oligui Nguema is expected to be sworn in as the “transitional president” on Monday.
This turn of events follows a growing trend of political instability in Africa, with several countries, including Mali, Guinea, Sudan, Burkina Faso, and Niger, witnessing coups over the past three years. In many cases, the new rulers have resisted calls for a swift return to civilian rule, raising concerns about the political landscape and stability in the region.
Gabon’s decision to reopen its borders signifies a potential shift in the country’s political trajectory as it transitions to new leadership amidst political tensions and challenges to the legitimacy of the previous election