In a shocking turn of events, the African nation of Gabon is grappling with a political upheaval as a military coup dethrones President Ali Bongo Odimba, who has held power since 2009.
Video: Ousted Ali Bongo calling his "friends" to "make noise" for his release
This abrupt change comes after a highly contested third-term election that saw accusations of electoral fraud and a subsequent internet blackout, raising serious questions about the legitimacy of the electoral process.
Ali Bongo succeeded his father, Omar Bongo, who had an iron grip on Gabon for over four decades. Following his ascent to power, Ali Bongo's presidency was marked by both stability and increasing discontent among the populace. As he attempted to secure his grip on power for a third term, tensions simmered over allegations of electoral manipulation.
The elections, marred by allegations of irregularities and fraud, became the flashpoint for the events that followed.
Albert Ondo Ossa, the opposition leader, among others, voiced strong concerns over the fairness of the electoral process.
As tensions escalated, President Ali Bongo took the controversial step of shutting down the internet across the country, from Sunday 27th August "for security reasons", claimed Communications Minister Rodrigue Mboumba Bissawou on public television.
External observers and international journalists were also banned from covering the elections.
On Wednesday, he was declared the winner with 64.27 percent of the vote. Within an hour after the proclamations of results, the military swiftly intervened, seizing control of key institutions and effectively overthrowing the sitting president.
Addressing the nation in public television, a group a militaries declared to have seized the power and cancelled the election results. They also announced the dissolution of all institutions and the closure of the borders.
Gathered within the the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions (CTRI) led by the commander-in-chief of the Republican Guard, Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguéma, the defense and security forces announced the house arrest of Ali Bongo and the arrest of his son, Nouredine Bongo Valentin, and many others, accused of high treason, drug trafficking, embezzlement and many other charges that will probably earn them heavy prison sentences.
The sudden military intervention has sent shockwaves through the nation, at the same time prompting thousands of Gabonese to storm the streets in celebrations and chants of freedom from the Bongo family that have been ruling the country for 56 years.
Gabonese storm the streets of the country at the announcement of the coup that overthrown Ali Bongo
Calls for restraint and dialogue echo across borders as the situation unfolds. A call for a peaceful resolution of the coup came from China, France, the US, the EU and the African Union.
The outcome of this coup has the potential to reshape Gabon's political identity, with citizens anxiously awaiting answers about their nation's future direction.
Coups seem to have made a come back in Africa, possibly the only solutions to install a true democracy.
Ousmane Sonko, the main political opponent in Senegal, is dying, starved by a hunger strike to protest against his abusive arrest, muzzled by Macky Sall. Sonko is openly against French policy in Africa.
Niger Coup, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Now Gabon. Who is next? What is really at stake in Africa is all on the map below.
Thanks to the Internet, African youth know better. They want their minerals back, they want to live with MUCH MORE than 1 $ a day. They want to be rich, own their wealth, develop their countries, and be free. It's their right and they deserve it.
These series of coups are sending a clear message to "democratically elected presidents" :
If you don't do the necessary change, with real democratic means, we will do it our way.