Gabon Govt Arrests Coup Plotters, Brands them as Jokers

Gabon's President, Ali Bongo.

The government in Gabon says the soldiers who had taken over the state-run radio on Monday rallying the masses to rise up against President Ali Bongo, have been arrested.

A group of soldiers announced through the radio that they have ‘ousted’ ailing Ali Bongo from the presidency in a bid to “restore democracy”.

It is reported that military tanks and armed vehicles are currently seen patrolling on streets of the capital Libreville, following the announcement which happened at around 4:30 am local time, when junior officers led by Lt Kelly Ondo Obiang went to the national radio and promised an immediate “National Restoration Council”.

The government spokesman Guy-Bertrand Mapangou told France 24 that: “The government is in place. The institutions are in place”.

He said four plotters had been arrested and a fifth who fled was being searched for.

The communications minister said the men were “a group of jokers and the military hierarchy does not recognise them”.

Gabon’s President, Ali Bongo, 59, is abroad in Morocco recovering from a stroke. His constitutional powers were recently transferred to the Prime Minister and Deputy President.

He succeeded his father Omar Bongo in 2009 and only managed a slim election victory in 2016, has been in Morocco since October undergoing treatment after suffering stroke.

The African Union chief Moussa Faki Mahamat “strongly condemned” the attempted coup.

“I reaffirm the AU’s total rejection of all unconstitutional change of power,” Moussa said on Twitter.

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