Gabon Military Say they Have ‘Seized Power’ from President Bongo

Soldiers said they took control of the national radio station.

The army in Gabon said on Monday it had seized power from ailing President Ali Bongo to ‘restore democracy, a statement from National radio said.

President Ali Bongo who took over power in 2009 has been sick, suffering from a stroke since October.
He has been out of the country in Morocco for more than two months where he went to seek medical treatment.

Ali Bongo family has been in power for 50 years ruling the oil-rich nation.

Soldiers said they took control of the national radio station at 04:00 local time (03:00 GMT) and have put in place a “National Restoration Council” to manage the situation.

Diplomats in Gabon said tanks and armed vehicles “can be seen on the streets of the capital Libreville.”

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

Towards the end of the year, some media reports indicated that Bongo had passed on, but, to disapprove this, he in a video recording, on December 31 delivered his end of year address to the nation from his sickbed in Morocco.

However, the military say they were disappointed by his message which they interpreted as a “restless attempt to cling onto power”.

“The message of the head of the nation to close the debate on his health has rather reinforced doubts about his ability to shoulder the heavy burden of his office as head of state of the republic,” read the statement by the military

The military still call on the the rest of the army to take control of the means of transport, airport and ammunition reserves.

The Bongo family has ruled the oil rich country from nearly 50 years with his father Omar Bongo Ondimba at the helm for 42 years until 2009 when his son Ali Bongo succeeded him.

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

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