Army ‘seizes power’ in Gabon

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Libreville, Jan 7 (IANS) Gabon’s Army on Monday took over the national radio station and announced its leadership over the country, declaring their dissatisfaction with President Ali Bongo.

There were reports of shots being fired in the capital.

According to CNN, the military said it seized power to “restore democracy” and was disappointed by Bongo’s message on December 31 from Morocco where he was recovering from a stroke. He has been battling ill health since October.

The military said the message showed the ailing President’s strong attempt to remain in power.

A New Year’s address by Bongo “reinforced doubts about the President’s ability to continue to carry out of the responsibilities of his office”, said Lieutenant Kelly Ondo Obiang, leader of the self-declared Patriotic Movement of the Defence and Security Forces of Gabon.

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The military took control of the national radio station at 4.30 a.m. (local time) to read a short statement announcing the establishment of a “National Restoration Council”.

Tanks and armed vehicles were seen on the streets of Libreville, the BBC reported.

Bongo was sworn in as President for his second seven-year term in 2016 in an election marred by violence and accusations of fraud.

After a court validated the election results, Bongo’s challenger at the time called the decision “biased” for “pointedly ignoring the urgent calls for transparency launched by the national and international community”.

–IANS

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