The apparent coup is still ongoing, and it is unclear if the group is backed by a larger force.
The government of the west African country of Gabon said the country’s ‘situation was under control’ on Monday after several soldiers attempted a coup d’etat.
Gabon’s military, in a broadcast on national radio Monday morning, declared their intention to form a “National Restoration Council” in light of their disappointment with President Ali Bongo Ondimba, in what appears to be an attempted coup d’etat.
Soldiers stormed the national radio headquarters in Libreville, Gabon’s capital, stating they were disappointed with Bongo’s message for the New Year.
Shots were heard in the around state television offices in the centre of the capital around the same time at 6:30 am (0530 GMT), and military vehicles blocked access to the site, an AFP correspondent said.
— CGR.NewYork (@CGR_newyork) January 7, 2019
Military vehicles blocked access to the boulevard where the offices are located, an AFP correspondent said.The message was read on state radio by a person who identified himself as the deputy commander of the Republican Guard and head of a group called the Patriotic Youth Movement of the Gabonese Defence and Security Forces.
Local news described the event as an “attempted coup d’etat” and said the Gabon Republican Guard was seizing power.
Three soldiers wearing the green beret of the Republican Guard were visible on a video of the speech circulating on social media and authenticated by AFP.
The movement “calls on all young people from forces for the defence and security and Gabonese young people to join us,” the officer said, announcing that a “national restoration council” would be formed.
“We cannot abandon our homeland,” he said.”The eagerly awaited day has arrived when the army has decided to put itself on the side of the people in order to save Gabon from chaos.
“If you are eating, stop; if you are having a drink, stop; if you are sleeping, wake up. Wake up your neighbors… rise up as one and take control of the street,” he said on the radio.
Bongo assumed office in October of 2009 and has served as Gabon’s third president. His family has ruled the oil-rich country for over half a century.
The 59-year-old leader is currently in Morocco recovering from a stroke suffered in October, apparently leaving space for the military to take power.
On December 31, he addressed the country for the first time since falling ill, saying in a recorded speech from Morocco that he had “been through a difficult period.
“The Bongo family has governed the oil-rich equatorial African nation for five decades.
Ali Bongo was elected head of state after his father’s death in 2009.
He was narrowly re-elected in 2016 following a presidential poll marred by deadly violence and allegations of fraud.
This is a developing story.
AFP contributed to this report.