Alwaght- Military officers in Gabon said they seized the power on Wednesday, putting President Ali Bongo under house arrest and naming a new leader after election commission announced that Bongo had won a third term.
The officers declared on television that the election results were cancelled.
They also closed the borders and dissolved the state institutions, as a tense vote set to extend the Bongo family's more than half century in power.
A few hours after the power grab, generals met to discuss who would lead the transition and agreed by unanimous vote to appoint General Brice Oligui Nguema, former head of the presidential guard, according to another televised address, Reuters reported.
Hundreds of people celebrated the military's intervention in the streets of the Gabonese capital Libreville, while the United Nations, African Union and France, Gabon's former colonial ruler which has troops stationed there, condemned the coup.
Reactions to the coup
"The Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, is following with great concern the situation in the Gabonese Republic and strongly condemns the attempted coup d'etat in the country as a way out of its current post-electoral crisis,” a statement by the AU said.
"He calls on the national army and the security forces ... to guarantee the personal safety of the President of the Republic, the members of his family and those of his government."
Nigeria reacted to the development in the oil-producing state.
"President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is watching developments in Gabon very closely with deep concern for the country's socio-political stability and the seeming autocratic contagion apparently spreading across different regions of our beloved continent,” Reuters reported citing Tinubu’s spokesman.
The statement further said that the president is working very closely and continuing to communicate with other heads of state in the African Union toward a comprehensive consensus on the next steps forward."
"The Secretary-General is following the evolving situation in Gabon very closely,” Reuters reported the UN spokesman as saying.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman said: "China closely follows the development of the situation in Gabon and calls on relevant parties in Gabon to focus on the fundamental interests of the country and the people, resolve differences peacefully through dialogue, and restore normal order as soon as possible. And also ensure the personal safety of President Bongo, maintain national peace, stability, and overall development."
"We condemn the military coup and recall our commitment to free and transparent elections,” said French government spokesman.
Russia was another party to react. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Maria Zakharova said: "Moscow has received with concern reports of a sharp deterioration in the internal situation in the friendly African country. We continue to closely monitor the development of the situation and hope for its speedy stabilization."
The US said it was “deeply concerned” about the power grab in the African state, with White Hoouse spokesman saying: “We will remain a supporter of the people in the region, a supporter of the people of Gabon and on their demand for democratic governance of course."
The coup is the second in Africa in less than two months, as the continent still weighs up options to deal with Niger coup.