Gabon coup: Government says ‘situation under control’

Jan 7 2019 - 4:12pm

President Ali Bongo

The spokesperson for the government of Gabon has said the political situation in the country is “under control”, following an attempted military coup.

Guy-Bertrand Mapangou told the BBC that four of the rebels had been arrested by the authorities, while the fifth is on the run.

Gabon soldiers early Monday on state radio called on the people to “rise up” and announced that a “national restoration council” would be formed, as an ailing President, Ali Bongo, is out of the country.

They however claimed they seized power “to restore democracy’’ in oil-rich Gabon, where the ailing leader’s family has ruled for 50 years.

Tanks and armed vehicles could be seen in the capital Libreville.

“The situation is calm. The gendarmes who are often stationed there have taken control of the entire area around the radio and TV headquarters, so everything is back to normal,’’ Mapangou noted.

He added that the officer on the run would be arrested in the coming hours.

Current leader Ali Bongo succeeded his father Omar Bongo as president in 2009.

He narrowly won re-election in 2016 in a poll marred by violence and accusations of fraud.

The five soldiers took control of the national radio station at 04:30 local time (03:30 GMT) to read a short statement announcing a “National Restoration Council’’.

In a video circulating on social media, three young soldiers can be seen in a radio studio wearing military fatigues and holding guns.

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