Gabon: Two Soldiers Shot Dead In Failed Coup Attempt - African News

Hugh Fox
January 9, 2019

Military officers have staged a coup in Gabon, seizing the state radio station as they declared their dissatisfaction with President Ali Bongo, whose family has ruled the country for 50 years.

Government spokesman Guy-Bertrand Mapangou told Reuters that four of the five officers who had taken over the state radio in the capital Libreville were arrested.

Earlier Monday a soldier who identified himself as Lt. Obiang Ondo Kelly, commander of the Republican Guard, read out a statement saying the military had seized control of the government of this West African country.

Military officers seized Gabonese National Radio, the state radio station, early Monday, announcing their intent to establish a "national restoration council".

Gabon's President, Ali Bongo, 59, is overseas in Morocco recovering from a stroke.

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

The army's statement comes only days after Donald Trump said in a letter that the USA had deployed 80 military personnel to Gabon in response to reported violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) related to the recent election.

However, he didn't look in good shape - as he slurred his speech and he appeared unable to move his right arm.

Those soldiers have been taken into custody and President Bongo's government remains in control, Mr Mapangou said.

"Turkey is against all attempts aiming to unlawfully change elected governments".

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During Bongo's extended absence, new powers were granted to Gabon's vice president, Pierre-Claver Maganga Moussavou.

A curfew has been imposed over Libreville, and the internet has been cut.

President of Gabon Ali Bongo Ondimba speaks during the 2018 Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference at on October 11, in London.

"We condemn the coup attempt that took place this morning in Gabon", said the Foreign Ministry in a statement.

He promised to put all of his efforts into improving the quality of life of Gabon's people. "'A hard period" The 59-year-old Bongo has not been back to Gabon since he fell ill in Saudi Arabia on October 24. His family has ruled the oil-rich country for over half a century. His constitutional powers were recently transferred to the Prime Minister and Deputy President. In 2016, during his re-election, violent protests broke out amid claims of fraud.

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President Donald Trump, in his letter of notification Friday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about the USA deployment to Gabon, said more troops could be dispatched to Gabon, Congo or the separate Republic of Congo as needed.

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