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Gabon coup: Government says ‘situation under control’

A spokesperson for the government of Gabon has said the political situation in the country is “under control”, following an attempted military coup.

Guy-Bertrand Mapangou told the BBC that four of the rebels had been arrested by the authorities. A fifth is on the run.

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.

Tanks and armed vehicles could be seen in the capital Libreville.

“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 Mr Mapangou.

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

He added that the officer on the run would be arrested “in the coming hours.”

Current leader Ali 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.

What happened this morning?

The five soldiers took control of the national radio station at 04:30 local time (03:30 GMT) to read a short statement announcing a “National Restoration Council”.

In a video circulating on social media, three young soldiers can be seen in a radio studio wearing military fatigues and holding guns.

Lt Kelly Ondo Obiang, who said he represented a group called the Patriotic Movement of the Defence and Security Forces of Gabon, specifically appealed to young people to “take charge of their destiny”. Read moreĀ 

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