Gabon's military declares coup in order to 'restore democracy'

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Even though the government has just announced the putschists' arrest and the end of this coup, this event shows the political uncertainty in Gabon since October 2018 when the president, who is now recovering in Morocco, had a cerebrovascular accident.

The coup backers consisted of just five junior soldiers and no wider plot had apparently swept the ranks of the country's military - although authorities now say they plan to check for sympathisers among the army generals, civil society and opposition leaders mentioned in the rebels' statement.

Gabon's government has retained control of the West African country after an attempted military coup early Monday in which two plotters were killed, the government said.

Reports from news agencies said the coup attempt was accompanied by scattered gunfire in the capital, Libreville, and videos posted on social media showed armoured vehicles speeding through the streets, while helicopters circled overhead.

The Bongo family has reportedly held back the power in the Central African country for 42 years.

In one of his first television appearances since he suffered the stroke in Saudi Arabia in October, Bongo, 59, slurred his speech and he appeared unable to move his right arm.

Bongo addressed the Gabonese people in a televised message on New Year's Eve, saying he had been through a hard period.

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Soldiers stormed the national radio headquarters in Libreville, Gabon's capital, stating they were disappointed with Bongo's message for the New Year.

Watch the take over announcement below... Rather than going home, he went to recuperate in Morocco, from where he gave a New Year's Day statement in which he admitted he had been "through a hard period, as sometimes happens in life".

"The situation is under control", the presidency said, adding that hostages had been freed from the radio station. Critics have accused the family of profiting from the country's natural resources while not investing enough in basic services for the population of more than two million.

He recently addressed the country in a new year's message which was filmed in Morocco, where he has been receiving medical treatment.

U.S. President Donald Trump deployed American military personnel to Gabon last week because of fears on political unrest in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Current leader Ali Bongo succeeded his father Omar Bongo as president in 2009.

Bongo was narrowly re-elected in 2016 following a presidential poll marred by deadly violence and allegations of fraud.

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