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Gabon: Country ‘under control’ after coup attempt

COUP ATTEMPT: Soldiers called on the country's people to rise up (Image: YouTube)

THE SITUATION in Gabon is “under control” after members of the military attempted a coup, the government has said.

Soldiers in the country had staged a coup in response to the leadership of president Ali Bongo.

Bongo, who is recovering from a stroke and has not been in Gabon for two months, was in Morocco when a section of the military took action against him.

In a broadcast aired on state radio at around 3.30am GMT and filmed and distributed across social media, soldiers called on the country’s people to “rise up”.

The Guardian reported that Lt Kelly Ondo Obiang, who described himself as an officer in the Republican Guard, said: “The eagerly awaited day has arrived when the army has decided to put itself on the side of the people in order to save Gabon from chaos.

“If you are eating, stop; if you are having a drink, stop; if you are sleeping, wake up. Wake up your neighbours … rise up as one and take control of the street.”

Guy-Bertrand Mapangou, a spokesman for the Gabon government, told the BBC: "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 that the authorities had arrested four of the soldiers. The fifth had evaded capture and is on the run.

Around 300 people took to the streets to support the attempted coup outside the radio station. Loyalist soldiers used teargas to breakup the gathering, Reuters reported.

A member of the Bongo family has ruled the country since 1967, making them one of Africa’s longest political dynasties. The current president’s re-election in 2016 saw violence erupt after the opposition rejected Bongo’s victory.

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