Gabon Coup Attempt: Two Army Rebels Killed

Gabon Coup Attempt: Two Army Rebels Killed

Two soldiers who took part in Monday’s attempted coup in Gabon have been killed, the president’s office says.

They were shot dead after security officers stormed the national radio building which they had taken over. Three others are under arrest.

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The junior officers claimed they seized power “to restore democracy” in oil-rich Gabon, where the ailing leader’s family has ruled for 50 years.

“The situation is under control,” the presidency’s statement said.

Coup leader Lt Kelly Ondo Obiang was on the run for a brief period, before being found hiding under a bed, reports Radio France Internationale (RFI).

“The situation is calm. The gendarmes who are often stationed there have taken control of the entire area around the radio and TV headquarters, so everything is back to normal”, said Guy-Bertrand Mapangou, a spokesman for the government of the central African country.

Mr Mapangou said that the army generals, civil society and opposition leaders mentioned in the rebels’ statement as potential supporters would be investigated.W

The main opposition group, The Coalition for the New Republic, denied any link with the rebel soldiers.

One of its leading members, Paul-Marie Gondjout, told the BBC that soldiers and the police were searching vehicles on main roads in the capital, Libreville.

“We see order, but we don’t know what is going on,” Mr Gondjout said.

He added that with President Ali Bongo out of the country since October when he suffered a stroke, his deputy should be sworn in as head of state.

“The country needs to be run and we have no government, no head of state,” Mr Gongjout said.

President Bongo succeeded his father Omar Bongo as president in 2009. He narrowly won re-election in 2016 in a poll marred by violence and accusations of fraud.H

Rebel soldiers took control of the national radio station in the capital, Libreville, at 04:30 local time (03:30 GMT). Lt Obiang read a short statement announcing a “National Restoration Council”.

“If you are eating, stop; if you are having a drink, stop; if you are sleeping, wake up. Wake up your neighbours… rise up as one and take control of the street,” the statement said.

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