Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Wednesday, March 27, 2019 05:14:12 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter
BREAKING NEWS:

Gabon soldiers seize national radio station in coup attempt

photo by AP photo

In this photo grab, Gabon soldiers call on the people to \'rise up\' against President Ali Bongo

By BBC Online
08th-Jan-2019       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »


Soldiers in Gabon have attempted a coup, announcing the establishment of a "restoration council" after taking over the national radio station.
But the communications minister later on Monday announced most of the renegade military officers had been arrested and the situation was under control. There were still reports of shots being fired in the capital, Libreville. Reading out a statement, the officers condemned President Ali Bongo who addressed his compatriots last week from Morocco for the first time since reportedly suffering a stroke in October.
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.
"Once again, one time too many, the wielders of power deceptively continue to instrumentalise the person of Ali Bongo Ondimba, a patient devoid of many of his physical and mental faculties," said Ondo Obiang.
Gunfire was heard around state television offices in the centre of the capital at about 6:30am (05:30 GMT), and military vehicles blocked access to the site.
Most of Libreville remained calm later in the day but there was a strong police and military presence on the streets and helicopters circled overhead.
A crowd of about 300 people had gathered at the radio station in support of the attempted coup, but soldiers fired tear gas to disperse them. Bongo, 59, is said to have suffered a stroke on October 24 while visiting Saudi Arabia and has since been treated in Morocco. His family has ruled the oil-rich Central African nation for nearly half a century.
The president posted a video message recorded in Rabat and distributed via social and traditional media last Monday in which he admitted he had been "through a difficult period".
But he added: "Today, as you can see, I am preparing to meet you again soon."
Presidential spokesperson Ike Ngouoni later told AFP: "This speech is proof that President Ali Bongo is fully recovered. His health problems are now behind him." In a video circulating on social media, Ondo Obiang is seen in a radio studio wearing military fatigues and a green beret as he reads the statement. Two other soldiers with assault rifles stand behind him.
Ondo Obiang said the coup was being carried out against "those who, in a cowardly way, assassinated our young compatriots on the night of August 31, 2016" - a reference to deadly violence that erupted after Bongo was declared the winner of a disputed election.
A source close to the government told Reuters news agency the plotters appeared to be a small group of soldiers. The situation remained unclear Monday afternoon. Government spokesman Guy-Bertrand Mapangou said four of the five officers who attempted a coup had been arrested.
"Calm has returned, the situation is under control," he said.
Gabon, a small country with a population of about two million people, is estimated to be the fourth-richest nation in Africa.
Aly-Khan Satchu, an economist and Africa analyst, said Gabon is an "extremely unequal society" and it was likely the population and other military factions would support the move, noting the government hasn't "taken care of its citizens".
"The captain has been out of the country for a few months, this is a decapitation strike which I think will be difficult for the family to repel," Satchu told Al Jazeera. "It will be very difficult for the president to regain control while he's sitting in Morocco."
He said it remains to be seen what happens next, but noted about 900 French troops are in the country, a legacy of the colonial period.
"Will the French salvage the regime? I suspect not," he said, adding, "I don't think these guys are working on their own. It's not visible yet."
Satchu said the coup attempt reflects a broader trend of discontent in Africa over long-serving leaders who have failed to heed the needs of their people.
"What we're watching across this continent - whether it's Gabon, Sudan, or DR Congo - is a kind of tipping point moment," he said.
The US military has deployed soldiers and equipment to Gabon amid fears of violent protests in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) after its contested presidential election.
President Donald Trump told US Congress on Friday the first of about 80 troops arrived in Gabon last Wednesday to protect American citizens and diplomatic facilities if violence breaks out in the DRC capital, Kinshasa.
Bongo won re-election in 2016 by fewer than 6,000 votes, sparking deadly clashes between protesters and police during which the parliament was torched.
The European Union said it found anomalies during the election in Bongo's stronghold province of Haut-Ogooue, where he won 95 percent on a 99.9 percent turnout.
His father, Omar Bongo, ruled Gabon for 42 years before his death in 2009 when Ali Bongo first took power.

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Nation's supreme sacrifice for independence must not go in vain


THE nation is set to celebrate 49th Independence Day and National Day today. This year, the Independence Day has got special attention following the announcement of United Nations Under-Secretary General and Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng. The special envoy on Sunday said that UN will raise the ...

Cricket »

Brian Lara hopes to witness an India-Pakistan final in WC 2019


Former West Indies legend Brian Lara predicted India as favorites to claim the World Cup title.While the cricketing interactions between sub continental arch rivals hit an all-time low in barometer following never ending political disarray, Caribean living legend has foreseen a repeat of the 2017 ICC Champions' Trophy final where ...

International »

Venezuela crisis: Russian military planes land near Caracas


Two Russian military planes landed in Venezuela's main airport on Saturday, reportedly carrying dozens of troops and large amounts of equipment.The planes were sent to "fulfil technical military contracts", Russia's Sputnik news agency reported.Javier Mayorca, a Venezuelan journalist, wrote on Twitter that he saw about 100 troops and 35 tonnes ...

International »

New Zealand's Ardern orders top-level inquiry


New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ordered a top-level inquiry into the Christchurch mosque attacks that left 50 people dead.She said a royal commission would examine whether police and intelligence services could have done more to prevent the 15 March shootings.A royal commission is the highest level of independent ...

Entertainment »

I am a part of a film that will help people see beauty in different light: Deepika


Bollywood’s leading lady Deepika Padukone has time and again exhibited her thirst for challenging roles with her diverse choice of films. Giving testimony of the same yet again, Deepika will be seen slipping into the skin of an acid victim survivor for Chhapaak and is exhilarated to give to the ...

Cricket »

Rumana receives T20 Team of the Year cap from ICC


Bangladesh Women's team star Rumana Ahmed received the 2018 ICC T20 Team of the Year cap from the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sunday, according to a message sent by Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).Rumana is the first Bangladesh player to have been selected in the ICC squad. The right-arm leg-spinner ...

International »

Maduro vows ‘deep’ change in Venezuela government amid pressure


AP, Venezuela :Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro vowed a major shake-up in his government, a sign he is feeling pressure from U.S. sanctions and an international outcry for him to resign."I will in the coming hours announce new government methods and a profound change in the entire government of Venezuela," Maduro ...

Football »

England, France win big, Portugal held as Euro defense opens


AP, London :Big and slick wins for France and England. Not even a goal for Portugal.Even with Cristiano Ronaldo returning to the Portugal side for the first time since last year's World Cup, the European champions could only begin their title defense with a 0-0 home draw against Ukraine.The goals ...

Sports »

Serena survives scare to advance in Miami


AFP, Miami :Serena Williams survived an "irresponsible" second set lapse on Friday to see off Sweden's Rebecca Peterson 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 in her second-round opener of the WTA and ATP Miami Open."I wasn't really happy with my performance," admitted the 23-time Grand Slam champion, who is playing in just her ...

Entertainment »

I was lucky that it wasn't a dance-off - Alia Bhatt


An Abhishek Varman directorial, Kalank starring Alia Bhatt, Madhuri Dixit, Varun Dhawan, Aditya Roy Kapur, Sonakshi Sinha, and Sanjay Dutt has been making headlines ever since its announcement. It was just yesterday when the makers of the film dropped in the first song, titled Gharore pardesiya, featuring Alia and Madhuri ...

International »

Pope replaces Santiago bishop after abuse cover-up claims


Reuters, Vatican City :Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the archbishop of Santiago and the highest ranking member of the Catholic Church in Chile, who has been caught up in the country's sex abuse scandal.A Vatican statement on Saturday said the pope had named Bishop Celestino ...

International »

May makes final push for Brexit deal with new timetable


Prime Minister Theresa May returns to Britain on Friday vowing to make "every effort" to win over MPs opposed to her EU divorce deal, hours after securing a delay to Brexit from European leaders in Brussels.The embattled premier faces daunting odds to persuade recalcitrant British lawmakers to back a plan ...

City »

Gonoforum President Dr. Kamal Hossain speaking at a press conference organised by Gonoforum at the Jatiya Press Club on Saturday demanding safe road.


Editorial »

Modernise the railways and make it corruption-free


BANGLADESH Railway has been showing less importance and interest to recover its grabbed lands though thousands of acres of land are now illegally possessed by a section of influential people and some organisations. It has also no visible plan to use many unused lands across the country too. An initiative ...

Editorial »

Save Halda from dying


DEPARTMENT of Environment has revealed that waste from a housing estate and some factories are polluting the Halda river in Chattogram to the extent that it caused dying of fish. Currently, the pollution of the Halda is severely affecting the livelihood of adjacent people, in particular the fishermen. In June ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news