Gabonese soldiers declare coup to seize power from Ali Bongo and 'restore democracy'

Gabonese soldiers on Monday appeared on a state radio station and declared seizure of power in the oil-rich African country.

President Ali Bongo

The junior military men expressed disappointment with President Ali Bongo's inability to rule and carry out responsibilities of the office.

“It reinforced doubts about his ability to assume the responsibilities of his role as President of the Republic", BBC quoted Lt Kelly Ondo Obiang, the leader of the so-called Patriotic Movement of the Defence and Security Forces of Gabon.

Obiang in a radio broadcast in local language appealed to young people to "take charge of their destiny".

President Ali Bongo who took over after his late father in 2009 has been hospitalised since October 2018. He first visited Saudi Arabia for treatment of a stroke and later moved to Morocco to continue treatment.

In a New Year Message, the president appeared on a video, saying he was recovering from illness. In a similar report by Reuters, a spokesman for the presidency said the government will make a statement shortly.

Gabon in the hands of Bongo family

The Bongo family has ruled the West Africa nation for more than 50 years. The father, Omar Bongo ruled between 1967 until his death in 2009.

His son, Ali Bongo, who was the then Minister of Foreign Affairs took after the 41 years in power by his father.

Ali Bongo was re-elected in 2016 in an election marred by irregularities and violence.

Situation under control - Gabon government

The communication minister, in a statement issued on Monday, January 7, 2018, says the 'situation is under control' as rebels have been rearrested.

According to reports, four of five Gabon military officers who attempted a coup have been arrested at radio station as one escaped.  

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