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World reaction to the military coup in Gabon

President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s ouster came after he was declared winner for a third term in an election that opposition called a ‘fraud’.

Mutinous soldiers claim to have seized power in Gabon and put the president under house arrest, hours after he was declared the winner in an election that would have extended his family’s 55-year rule in the oil-rich Central African nation.

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.

Bongo has served two terms since coming to power in 2009 after the death of his father, who ruled the country for 41 years.

Here is how the world reacted to Bongo’s ouster:


“France condemns the military coup that is under way in Gabon and is closely monitoring developments in the country, and France reaffirms its wish that the outcome of the election, once known, be respected,” said French government spokesman Olivier Veran said.

France has maintained close economic, diplomatic and military ties with Gabon, and has 400 soldiers stationed in the country leading a regional military training operation.

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, holds the hand of President of Gabon Ali Bongo at the Elysee Palace, Thursday, June 22, 2023 in Paris.
French President Emmanuel Macron (left) holds the hand of Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba at the Elysee Palace, Thursday, June 22, 2023 in Paris, France [File: Rafael Yaghobzadeh/AP Photo]

United States

“It’s deeply concerning. We are 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 spokesman John Kirby.

European Union

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.

African Union

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.


“China closely follows the development of the situation in Gabon and calls on relevant parties in Gabon to … restore normal order as soon as possible. And also ensure the personal safety of President Bongo, maintain national peace, stability, and overall development,” said Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry.

Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba is led by Chinese President Xi Jinping during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, April 19, 2023.
Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba (left) is led by Chinese President Xi Jinping during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China on April 19, 2023 [File: Ken Ishii/Pool via Reuters]


“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.


“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,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.


Spain will evaluate peacekeeping missions in Africa after coups in Niger and Gabon, acting Defence Minister Margarita Robles said at a European Union defence ministers’ meeting in Toledo.

Robles added that Spain was monitoring events in Africa’s Sahel region with great concern. Spain has about 140 troops stationed to the northeast of Mali’s capital, Bamako, as part of the EU’s training mission there.


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