Gabon's Military stages coup to oust ailing president
Gabon's military announced army has seized power in oil-rich Gabon, located along the Atlantic coast of Central Africa where the ailing president Ali Bongo has been in Morocco for treatment more than two months.
Military officers in the west African country say they launched a coup to 'restore democracy' and seized the state radio station to broadcast message of dissatisfaction with the president, Reuters reported.
Military officers in Gabon staged an apparent coup early Monday morning. Lieutenant Kelly Ondo Obiang, the leader of the self-declared 'Patriotic Movement of the Defense and Security Forces of Gabon' through a radio message said: "Bongo new year’s address reinforced doubts about the president’s ability to continue to carry out the responsibilities of his office."
Shots are heard in the Gabon capital of Libreville. Tanks and armed vehicles can be seen on the streets of the capital.
The soldiers called to take control of the transport system, ammunition reserves and airports for the good of the Country.
A source close to the government said there were gunshots around the national television station, but that the plotters appeared to be a small group of soldiers.
A spokesman for the presidency told Reuters he would make a statement shortly.
President Bongo reportedly suffered a stroke in October 2018 in Saudi Arabia and received treatment in Morocco.
He sought to put an end to the rumors about his health with a televised New Year message in which he said he was feeling fine.
Military officers said they had been disappointed by the message, calling it "a pitiful sight" and a "relentless attempt to cling onto power."
It comes as US president Donald Trump said on the weekend that about 80 US military personnel and “appropriate combat equipment” had deployed to Gabon amid fears of unrest in neighboring Congo.
"The troops were to provide security for US citizens and staffers and diplomatic facilities. More would deploy as needed to Gabon, Congo or neighboring Republic of Congo," Trump said. 101/205