On 30 August 2023, a military mutiny occurred in the capital Libreville. The events began at approximately 0400 local time when a group of at least 12 senior military officers – who call themselves the Committee of Transition and the Restoration of Institutions — announced on national television that they had deposed President Ali Bongo. The announcement came shortly after election officials broadcast that President Ali Bongo had won a third consecutive term in office. The soldiers, who claimed to have the backing of all military forces in Gabon, stated that they canceled the results of the 26 August general elections, closed Gabon’s borders until further notice, and dissolved all state institutions. Multiple news agencies reported the sound of gunfire in the capital amid the televised announcement of the military takeover; however, information on casualties remains unavailable. President Ali Bongo Ondimba was placed under house arrest, while other top officials of the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party were arrested on accusations of treason, embezzlement and corruption. Operations at Léon-Mba International Airport (FOOL/LBV) appear to have been suspended as local authorities are reportedly preventing the departure of outbound aircraft; however, there has been no official announcement regarding a suspension of airport operations or the closure of Gabonese airspace. Nonetheless, officials with the Moroccan national carrier, Royal Air Maroc, announced the cancellation of all flights to Gabon in light of the country’s uncertain political situation.

Analyst Comment: The situation on the ground is rapidly evolving. There were significant concerns regarding the legitimacy of the 26 August general elections. Bongo’s administration imposed a nightly curfew and nationwide restrictions on internet access in the hours leading up to residents casting their votes, and also largely restricted the presence of international election observers and foreign media outlets. Bongo’s officials claimed that the measures were necessary to prevent the spread of misinformation and mitigate potential violence that could affect elections. Although internet access was restored following the coup, military leaders may elect to continue enforcing the nightly curfew, which is in effect from 1900 to 0600 local time (1800 to 0500 UTC), as they consolidate power.