World News

Gabon govt says 'situation under control', army rebels seized

Gabon govt says 'situation under control', army rebels seized

The military say they have seized power to "restore democracy" and are disappointed by Bongo's message on December 31 from Morocco where he is recovering from a stroke.

In a video circulating on social media, Ondo Obiang is seen in a radio studio wearing military fatigues and a green beret as he reads the statement, which was broadcast at about 4.30am local time (0530 GMT).

Not long after the incident, a government spokesman said that four out of five of the soldiers involved had been arrested.

President Ali Bongo who is now recovering from a stroke in Morocco took over the country's rulership from his father, Omar Bongo, who ruled Gabon for 42 years before his death in 2009.

The elite Republican Guard was deployed around the building and armoured vehicles blocked access to the area, an AFP correspondent saw. Two other soldiers with large assault rifles stand behind him.

It is unclear if the earlier United States troop deployment is related to the coup, but President Donald Trump said Friday that USA military personnel had deployed to Gabon in response to possible violent demonstrations in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a presidential election there.

In a message on state radio, military officers declared their dissatisfaction with Bongo, who is now recovering from a stroke in Morocco after receiving treatment in Saudi Arabia.

A curfew was imposed in the city and internet access was cut off. File pic
Image A curfew was imposed in the city and internet access was cut off. File pic

"We can not abandon our homeland", the officer said.

"The eagerly awaited day has arrived when the army has chose to put itself on the side of the people in order to save Gabon from chaos. Wake up your neighbors. rise up as one and take control of the street", he said on the radio.

President Ali Bongo took over power in 2009.

The Bongo family has ruled the oil-producing country for more than half a century.

This was in reference to deadly riots that kicked off after President Bongo was declared the victor of the disputed elections in Gabon.

The French-educated Bongo, who was the country's defence minister before becoming president, narrowly won re-election in 2016 while opposition rival Jean Ping claimed irregularities and continues to call himself the country's real president.

More news: US House passes bills that would end government shutdown, without wall funds


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