Gabon military officers
A video grab from Gabon 24 shows soldiers carrying General Brice Oligui Nguema, head of Bongo's presidential guard. Gabon 24/AFP

Appearing on the Gabon 24 television channel today, Wednesday 30 August, military officers in Gabon claim to have taken power last night, while putting President Ali Bongo Ondimba on house arrest.

The military group revealed that they were seeking the power to overturn the results of the recent presidential election – of which Ali Bongo Ondimba had won for a third term only hours earlier.

While on air, the group of nearly a dozen officers referred to themselves as members of the Committee of Transition and Restoration of Institutions, in other words, the security and defence forces in the Central African nation.

On television, the officers stated: "In the name of the Gabonese people... we have decided to defend the peace by putting an end to the current regime."

President Ali Bongo Ondimba's family have held power in Gabon for almost 56 years, and his reinstatement was met with controversial opinions and unresolved grievances from many members of the public.

Many opinions are based on the fact that Mr Bongo's family have had a tight grip on Gabonese people since the 1900s, with their past behaviours contributing to a resource-rich but poverty-hit nation.

Gabon military personnel call for presidential election results to be cancelled.

According to the World Bank, almost 40 per cent of Gabonese people aged 15 to 24 were out of work in 2020.

Many opposition groups also argued that the election result was fraudulent, following a statement that revealed that Mr Bongo had won the vote by 64 per cent.

This situation has occurred only weeks after mutinous troops seized authority in Niger.

The officers have declared that the election results should be cancelled and that all Gabon borders are to be closed until further notice, with state institutions dissolved in the process.

A spokesperson for the group of soldiers said that Mr Bongo's "unpredictable, irresponsible governance", risked leading the country into chaos.

Ambrey, a British Maritime Security Company, wrote in an advisory that "Ambrey is aware that movements in and out of Gabon have been closed down following an early morning announcement by military officials".

There were concerns rising amongst the public after the announcement that Mr Bongo would be reappointed as president.

This morning sounds of gunfire were also reported in the Gabonese capital Libreville.

In the early hours of the afternoon, at approximately 1:43 pm, reports note that some residents of Libreville were celebrating in the streets after the military officers announced that they were finally "ending the regime".

Citizens of Libreville celebrate the military seizing President Bongo.

Crowds in the streets were also heard singing the national anthem simultaneously with the soldiers.

One member of the public, Yollande Okomo, who was standing in front of soldiers from Gabon's elite republican guard, said: "Thank you, army. Finally, we've been waiting a long time for this moment."

Jordy Dikaba, a young man walking with his friends in the crowd, shouted, "Long live our army!".

A little while later, Mr Bongo appeared in a video that was shared with The Associated Press by BTP Advisers, the same communications firm that assisted the president with polling for the election.

In the video, Mr Bongo asks his followers to raise awareness of his capture in the presidential palace. He said: "I'm calling you to make noise, to make noise, to make noise really!"

It has been reported by the military personnel, that although Mr Bongo is essentially being held hostage, the president is surrounded by his family and trusted doctors.

The military coup also noted that several people around the president have been arrested for "high betrayal of state institutions, massive embezzlement of public funds (and) international financial embezzlement", among other charges.

It is already known, that several members of the Bongo family are currently under investigation in France, with some being given preliminary charges of embezzlement, money laundering and other forms of corruption.

Mr Bongo has since started to call for international support.