Military personnel in Gabon reportedly staged a coup attempt early on Monday morning seizing the state radio station and declaring dissatisfaction with President Ali Bongo, saying they want to “restore democracy”.
Tanks and armoured vehicles were seen on the streets of the capital Libreville.
The 59-year-old leader is currently in Morocco recovering from a stroke which he suffered in October last year. The Bongo family has governed the oil-rich equatorial African nation for five decades.
Bongo was elected head of state after his father’s death in 2009 and has been out of the country for more than two months.
With the president incapacitated, Gabon’s constitution states that any one of the three arms of government — the executive, legislature and judiciary — can approach the Constitutional Court to confirm that a presidential vacancy exists and the speaker of the National Assembly must be appointed as the interim head of government, pending elections in 45 days.
On New Year’s Day, in an attempt to put an end to the rumours about his health, Bongo delivered a televised message in which he said he was feeling fine.
In the message, he “charged the Prime Minister (Emmanuel Issoze Ngondet) to meet the expectations of the citizens” until his return to Gabon at an unspecified date.
According to media reports, soldiers say they were disappointed by the message, calling it “a pitiful sight” and a “relentless attempt to cling onto power”.This is a developing story and will be updated as more details emerge.
This is a developing story.