Coup attempt in Gabon: Govt. claims ‘situation under control’
- January 8, 2019
On Monday morning, citizens of Gabon woke up to a morning of political uncertainty when five soldiers took control of the national radio station at 04:30 local time (03:30 GMT).
They read a short statement announcing a ‘National Restoration Council’ and claimed to ‘restore democracy’ in the country.
In a video circulating on social media, three young soldiers were seen in a radio studio wearing military fatigues and holding guns.
Lieutenant Kelly Ondo Obiang, who said he represented a group called the Patriotic Movement of the Defence and Security Forces of Gabon, specifically appealed to young people to “take charge of their destiny”. Tanks and armed vehicles were also seen in the capital Libreville.
However, the government has thwarted the coup attempt and arrested all the rebels who tried to take charge.
Government spokesman Guy-Bertrand Mapangou told the BBC that the situation was under control.
“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,” he said.
Incumbent President Ali Bongo’s family has ruled the oil-affluent nation since 1967. The leader, who suffered a cardiac arrest in October last year received treatment in Morocco. He has been out of the country since two months.
He made an appearance in a televised new year’s message. Though he insisted he was feeling fine, he was visibly unwell.
Ali Bongo has been President of Gabon since October 2009. He is the son of Omar Bongo, who was dictator of Gabon from 1967 until his death in 2009. During his father’s presidency, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1989 to 1991 and represented Bongoville as a Deputy in the National Assembly from 1991 to 1999; subsequently he was Minister of Defense from 1999 to 2009. Following his father’s death after 41 years in power, he was first elected in the August 2009 presidential election. He was re-elected in August 2016, in elections marred by numerous irregularities, arrests, human rights violations and post-election violence. Bongo is also President of the Gabonese Democratic Party. (Source Wikipedia)
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