The military has taken control of the state-owned broadcasting station in Gabon to announce the creation of a “National Restoration Council”, RFI radio in Africa reported.
Gabon’s envoy to Paris stated that the rebel military personnel in Libreville have now been arrested, RFI radio reported.
RFI radio reported that the military had arrived at the office of the broadcaster at about 4 am local time (3 am GMT). The communique on behalf of the army was reportedly read over the air by Lieutenant Kelly Ondo Obiang.
The statement says that a New Year’s address by President Ali Bongo “reinforced doubts about the president’s ability to continue to carry out of the responsibilities of his office”. The military has announced that in the next few hours it will create a National Restoration Council.
But within a few hours, government spokesman Guy-Bertrand Mapangou told AFP: “Calm has returned, the situation is under control.” Of the five who entered the radio station, “four have been arrested and one is on the run,” according to Mapangou. Security forces have been deployed in the capital and will remain there over the coming days in order to maintain order, he said.
Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba was hospitalized in Riyadh on 24 October. According to RFI, the 59-year-old president suffered a stroke. He is currently undergoing a recovery treatment in Morocco, the radio station noted.
In his New Year video address from Rabat, Ali Bongo said that he felt better and was preparing to meet the nation again. Though he appeared to have delivered his speech without much effort, media outlets pointed to the fact that the president’s lower body was not shown, thus fueling further speculation about the head of state’s months-long absence from the country and his ability to perform his duties.