Conflicting reports indicate border crossings between Cameroon and Gabon have been closed since Monday, January 7, following a failed attempt to overthrow Gabonese President Ali Bongo. Border restrictions were reportedly implemented due to the precarious security situation, although local Cameroonian media sources have indicated some crossings were allowed as of January 8. Nevertheless, regular border crossings are not guaranteed amid a heightened security presence along the Gabon-Cameroon border.
A small group of military troops launched a coup d'état attempt in Gabon around 04:00 on January 7, seizing the state radio station on Boulevard Triomphal. The statement ordered politicians and military leaders to assemble at the National Assembly and called on military forces and citizens to take control of airports, checkpoints, military establishments, and transportation centers. Gunshots were reported in Libreville.
Officials had also imposed a temporary curfew in Gabon on January 7-8 following the failed military coup attempt; seven officers who staged the coup, including the leader, were arrested by loyalist authorities, and two other officers involved in the attempt were reportedly killed when the security forces raided the building. Soldiers loyal to Bongo reportedly fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of people outside the radio station supportive of the coup attempt. The situation in Libreville had normalized as of January 8, as normal business operations and road travel were reported.
Organizers of the coup claimed that President Ali Bongo - who suffered a stroke in October 2018 and is in Morocco seeking medical treatment - is not fit to continue in office. Political tensions remain high in Gabon following the 2016 presidential elections, perceived by many as fraudulent.
Travelers are advised to keep abreast of the situation and avoid the Gabon-Cameroon border until the situation normalizes.
Individuals in Gabon are advised to monitor the situation, obey instructions issued by their home governments and the local authorities (notably curfew orders), and remain vigilant at all times.
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