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Political situation is under control - Gabonese Government

BBC Africa
President Ali Bongo'
President Ali Bongo'

MONROVIA, LIBERIA-The political situation in Gabon is under control following an attempted military coup, a spokesman for the Gabonese Government has said.

All five of the rebels who tried to take charge have now been arrested by the authorities. The junior officers who claimed they seized power "to restore democracy" in oil-rich Gabon, where the ailing leader's family has ruled for 50 years.

Tanks and armoured vehicles could be seen in the capital Libreville. One of the rebels was on the run for a brief period, before being found hiding under a bed.  "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 government spokesman.

Army Generals, civil society and opposition leaders mentioned in the rebels' statement as potential supporters would be investigated. 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".

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. The insurgents called on soldiers to take control of the transport system, ammunition reserves and airports "in the interests of the nation".

The BBC's Firmain Eric Mbadinga said the coup attempt came as a huge surprise. The army has always been seen as loyal to the Bongo family, he said, because it is dominated by the presidential guard, who mostly come from Mr Bongo's home region.

Most of the capital remains calm, an eyewitness told the Reuters news agency. The French government and the African Union condemned the attempted coup.


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