Published: Mon, January 07, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Coup In Gabon As Military 'Seizes Power'

Coup In Gabon As Military 'Seizes Power'

Ailing President Ali Bongo, whose family has ruled for 50 years, took over power in 2009.

A crowd of about 300 people gathered at the station in support of the attempted coup, but soldiers fired tear gas to disperse them. His family has ruled the oil-rich Central African nation for almost half a century.

Government has not come out to give a statement on the claims by the military.

He has been in Morocco since November, continuing his treatment.

Soldiers burst into state radio offices at dawn and called on the public to "rise up" after President Ali Bongo suffered a stroke previous year while out of the country.

Tanks and armoured vehicles are on the streets of the capital Libreville, according to the BBC.

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

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He was narrowly re-elected in 2016 following a presidential poll marred by deadly violence and allegations of fraud.

Bongo's speech was slurred and he apppeared unable to move his right arm.

Gen Jean Philippe Ntumpa Lebani head of the Council of the Restoration announced that the military has dismissed president Bongo from the presidential office. Two other soldiers with large assault rifles stand behind him.

The attempted overthrow comes as US President Donald Trump announced about 80 US military personnel had deployed to Gabon amid fears of unrest in neighbouring Congo.

Security forces have been deployed in the capital and will remain there over the coming days in order to maintain order, he said.

On Friday, Donald Trump said 80 U.S. military personnel had been deployed to Gabon in response to the possibility of violent demonstrations in Democratic Republic of the Congo, where authorities have delayed the publication of results of an election on 30 December. They have denied the accusations.

Gabon has experienced a military coup once before.

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