Gabon Army announces coup, seizes national radio station

Last Updated: Mon, Jan 07, 2019 16:45 hrs

[Gabon], Jan 7 (ANI): The Gabon Army on Monday took over the national radio station of the country and announced that they had launched a coup, an illegal seizure of a state by the military, against the government of President Ali Bongo.

Al Jazeera cited a statement read out by the military officers on Monday condemning President Bongo, who addressed the nation for the first time on the New Year from Morocco since he suffered a stroke in October, last year.

Lieutenant Kelly Ondo Obiang of the Gabon Army said that the New Year's address by the ailing President "reinforced doubts about the president's ability to continue to carry out of the responsibilities of his office".

On Monday, gunshots were heard around state television offices in the Gabonese capital at 6:30 am (local time), apart from the Gabonese Army which stopped the traffic movement surrounding the site.

The 59-year old President had suffered a heart attack last year during his visit to Saudi Arabia and since then has been under treatment in Morocco. He recorded a video for his countrymen in the Moroccan capital last week saying, "I am preparing to meet you again soon."

Bongo was re-elected in 2016 as the President of Gabon with narrow margins of votes in a poll marred by violent protests and fraud. The Bongo family has reportedly held back the power in the Central African country for 42 years.

The United States has also deployed its troops in Gabon amid escalating tension over violence and protests as the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) of Congo is scheduled to announce the results of the Presidential elections anytime this week.

In a letter to the Congress, Trump said that around 80 troops were posted in Gabon to protect US citizens and diplomatic facilities in case violence broke out in Congo following the announcement of poll results. (ANI)