With President Ali Bongo Ondimba overseas being treated for health
problems related to a stroke in October, Gabon faced a brief, failed
coup d’etat by a group of soldiers calling themselves the Patriot Youth
Movement. The group seized the national radio station, and announced their intentions to restore democracy to the nation.
The Bongo Ondimba family has been ruling Gabon since 1967. The leader of the coup, Lt. Kelly Ondo Obiang, said that with growing doubts about the president’s ability to rule, it was time to restore democracy.
Among those at the radio station, four were captured by the military and a fifth is still on the run. Overall, two coup participants are said to have been killed, and seven arrested. Officials maintain that the situation is under control. Supporters of the coup say that it is ongoing, and locals say armored vehicles remain moving around the streets in Libreville.
The timing is likely to draw some attention to the presence of US forces in Gabon, as they were announced to have deployed only on Friday, and the coup happened literally the next business day. Africom insists the US did not participate in any way in the coup on either side.
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