The military apparently seized the state radio station on Monday, and declared their dissatisfaction with President Ali Bongo, who is recovering from a stroke in Morocco.
A New Year’s eve address by Bongo “reinforced doubts about the president’s ability to continue to carry out of the responsibilities of his office,” said Lieutenant Kelly Ondo Obiang, the leader of the self-declared Patriotic Movement of the Defence and Security Forces of Gabon.
Authorities have arrested five Republican Guard army officers in connection with the failed coup. The Republican Guard is currently led by President Bongo’s brother, Frederic Bongo, who is acting as president in the absence of his ailing brother.
Bongo, 59, was hospitalised in October in Saudi Arabia after suffering a stroke. He has been in Morocco since November to continue treatment.
The Bongo family has ruled the oil-producing country for nearly half a century. Bongo has been president since succeeding his father, Omar, who died in 2009. His re-election in 2016 was marred by claims of fraud and violent protest.
Meanwhile, the African Union (AU) Chief Moussa Faki Mahamat has strongly condemned the attempted coup by rebel soldiers in the capital Libreville.
South Africa’s Department of International relations and cooperation (Dirco) says they have taken note of political developments in Gabon. They department issued a statement on Monday evening, condemning “in the strongest possible terms the attempted coup to overthrow the democratically elected Government in the Republic of Gabon.” The statement says South Africa reaffirms the African Union principle of the total rejection of all unconstitutional change of power.