…As Government says ‘situation under control’***
The military in oil-rich central African country, Gabon, has announced it has seized power, effectively ending the 50-year rule of the family of President Ali Bongo.
The military said it is seizing power “to restore democracy”, the BBC reports.
Citizens of the country were woken to a 3.00 GMT broadcast by the military announcing a “National Restoration Council”.
Mr Bongo, who became president in 2009, has been ill and receiving treatment in Morocco for more than two months.
According to the BBC, army armoured vehicles and tanks were seen patrolling the streets of the capital, Libreville.
In a New Year’s day broadcast, he tried to put an end to the rumour about his health, assuring citizens that he was fine.
His message, clearly did not resonate with the army which described the broadcast as “a pitiful sight and a relentless attempt to cling onto power”.
In the meantime, the government of Gabon has said that the political situation of the country is under control following an attempted coup by army rebels on Monday.
Guy-Bertrand Mapangou, government spokesman said, “Calm has returned, the situation is under control.”
In the early hours of Monday, soldiers had burst into state radio and called on the people to “rise up,” an apparent bid to oust ailing President Ali Bongo, who is out of the country. Of the five who did this, according to Mapangou, “four have been arrested and one is on the run.”
Premium with additional report from The Nation