Gabon reopens borders ‘effective immediately,’ says army

Gabon’s army announced on Saturday the reopening of the country’s borders, which had been closed following the military coup that removed former President Ali Bongo.

A spokesperson for Gabon’s military rulers made an announcement on state TV, saying that they had decided to reopen the land, sea, and air borders with immediate effect, starting from this Saturday.

A group of 12 Gabonese soldiers had previously declared on Wednesday that the nation’s borders were closed until further notice, in a statement broadcasted on the Gabon 24 television channel.

General Brice Oligui Nguema, the leader of the elite Republican Guard, spearheaded a coup on Wednesday, along with other officers, against President Ali Bongo Ondimba, whose family had maintained a 55-year rule.

His removal occurred shortly after Bongo, aged 64, was declared the winner in the presidential elections over the weekend, a result that the opposition denounced as fraudulent.

The coup leaders announced the dissolution of the country’s institutions, the annulment of the election results, and the closure of the borders.

Oligui is due on Monday to be sworn in as “transitional president”.

In the last three years, five other African countries – Mali, Guinea, Sudan, Burkina Faso, and Niger – have experienced coups. The new leaders in these countries have resisted calls for a swift return to civilian rule.

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