Military Takes Over Power In Gabon

09 January, 2019, 11:19 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Military coup underway in Gabon

Early on Monday, the rebels briefly seized control of the state-run radio station and broadcasted a call to "rise up " while the country's President Ali Bongo is in Morocco recovering from a stroke.

Even though the government has just announced the putschists' arrest and the end of this coup, this event shows the political uncertainty in Gabon since October 2018 when the president, who is now recovering in Morocco, had a cerebrovascular accident.

Bongo took over from his father Omar, who took office in 1967 and gained the reputation of a kleptocrat - one of the wealthiest men in the world, with a fortune derived from Gabon's oil wealth.

On Monday, gunshots were heard around state television offices in the Gabonese capital at 6:30 am (local time), apart from the Gabonese Army which stopped the traffic movement surrounding the site. Last week, the United States deployed 80 troops to Gabon to evacuate American citizens from nearby Congo in the event that a disputed election there turns violent.

It is unclear if the soldiers have actually taken over the seat of government in the country.

The African Union affirmed its support for the Bongo government.

According to the BBC's Firmain Eric Mbadinga, the coup attempt was a huge surprise because the army has always been loyal to the family of the president.


Egypt's Foreign Ministry condemned on Monday the coup attempt in Gabon, a statement by the ministry said. "We call on authorities in Gabon to immediately and fully restore access to the internet and lift all restrictions on broadcasting".

Gabon - one of Africa's top oil producers - has been ruled by the Bongo family for more than 50 years.

He promised to put all of his efforts into improving the daily quality of life for Gabon's people.

The country's president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, is reportedly out of the country for medical treatment. Gabon's President Ali Bongo is out of the country in nearby Morocco, recovering from a stroke.

In the brief speech, 59-year-old Bongo declared the country was "indivisible" and acknowledged his health problems without giving details.

Gabon is now being run by the prime minister and vice president after the Constitutional Court transferred some of the president's power in his absence.

Bongo was narrowly re-elected in 2016 following a presidential poll marred by deadly violence and allegations of fraud.

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