Army officers have appeared on national television in Gabon to say they have taken power.
They said they were annulling the results of Saturday’s election, in which President Ali Bongo was declared the winner.
The electoral commission said Mr Bongo had won just under two-thirds of the votes in an election the opposition argued was fraudulent.
His overthrow would end his family’s 53-year hold on power in Gabon.
Gabon is one of Africa’s major oil producers, while nearly 90% of the country is covered by forests.
Twelve soldiers appeared on television early on Wednesday morning, announcing they were cancelling the results of the election and dissolving “all the institutions of the republic”.
They added that the country’s borders had been closed “until further notice”.
If confirmed, this would be the eighth coup in former French colonies in Africa in the past three years.
However, most of the others have been further north, in the Sahel region where an Islamist insurgency has led to rising complaints that the democratically elected governments were failing to protect the civilian populations.
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