Three days after soldiers seized power from President Ali Bongo of Gabon, the coup leaders announced a re-opening of the country’s borders.
Speaking on national television on Saturday, the army spokesperson said the reopening of the border is because the junta was “concerned with preserving respect for the rule of law, good relations with our neighbours and all states of the world” — and wanted to keep its “international commitments”.
The land, sea and air borders would be reopened “with immediate effect”, the unnamed army spokesperson said.
The military officers led by Brice Oligui Nguema, former head of the country’s presidential guard, had cited institutional, political, economic, and social crises as reasons for the coup.
The officers seized power on Wednesday, placed Bongo under house arrest and installed Nguema as head of state, ending the Bongo family’s 56-year hold on power.
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After announcing that they had seized power, the soldiers, who identified themselves as members of the Committee of Transition and Restoration of Institutions (CTRI), said they were dissolving “all the institutions of the Republic.”
The soldiers also announced the closure of the country’s borders.
The coup — the eighth in West and Central Africa in three years — has raised concerns about a contagion of military takeovers across the continent, painting a picture of democratic regress.
Information Nigeria reports that Oligui is due to be sworn in as the transitional president on Monday.