The Gabonese government says that the country is “under control” after military leaders seized a national broadcast to announce a coup d’etat against President Ali Bongo.
Rabat – Gabonese Government Spokesperson Guy-Bertrand has told the BBC that the government arrested four military leaders who announced a coup d’etat this morning against President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s government.
Four Gabonese military members seized a state broadcaster and announced their plans to establish a National Restoration Council Monday morning.
Soldiers, according to international news, said that they were not satisfied with the recent speech Bongo gave from Morocco.
After seizing the broadcaster, Ondo Obiang, who identified himself as a lieutenant, delivered a speech on air to inform citizens of the military’s intention.
— BNO News (@BNONews) January 7, 2019
“We cannot abandon our homeland,” Obiang said, calling on young Gabonese forces to mobilize for “defence and security and Gabonese people to join us.”
The lieutenant added that the “eagerly awaited” day had come, and the army decided “to put itself on the side of the people in order to save Gabon from chaos.”
Obiang called on people to stop what they were doing to “take control of the street.”
“If you are eating, stop; if you are having a drink, stop; if you are sleeping, wake up. Wake up your neighbors…. rise up as one and take control of the street.”
Over the New Year, Bongo acknowledged the precarious situation of his country in a message he recorded in Morocco.
“It is true that I have been through a difficult period, as sometimes happens in life,” he said but promised his citizens of a new day.
“Today, as you can see, I am better and I am preparing to meet you again soon,” he added.
The Gabonese president arrived in Rabat in November 2018 after suffering a stroke in Saudi Arabia in October.
The president came to continue his recovery at the invitation of King Mohammed VI.
Bongo became president of Gabon after the death of his father in 2009. He narrowly won re-election in 2016 in a poll marred by deadly violence.
Bongo is the third president in Gabon. Since Gabonese independence from French colonization the country has had just three presidents.