The Gabonese military officer who led a failed coup in Gabon has been captured and two of his commandos killed following an attack on a public radio station, the presidency says.
The two rebels were killed and their leader was arrested after security forces invaded the radio station in the Gabonese capital Libreville on Monday. The journalists who had been forced to help rebels make their appeal were also been freed.
“The situation is under control,” the presidency statement said.
Earlier in the day, Gabonese government spokesman Guy-Bertrand Mapangou told AFP that calm has returned to Libreville hours after a group of military officers launched a coup attempt in the absence of ailing President Ali Bongo who is abroad recovering from a stroke.
Most of the army rebels, who had earlier in the day seized the national radio station and called for a public uprising, had been arrested.
“Calm has returned, the situation is under control,” he said.
According to the presidency statement, six rebel forces earlier Monday burst into the state radio broadcasting station, “neutralizing” gendarmes in front of the building before making their broadcast.
Gunshots were heard around the headquarters of the national TV station at 6:00 a.m. local time (0530 GMT) around the same time a person, who identified himself as Lieutenant Ondo Obiang Kelly, the deputy commander of the Republican Guard and head of a previously unknown group, the Patriotic Youth Movement of the Gabonese Defense and Security Forces (MPJFDS), read a message on the radio.
He said a “national restoration council” would be formed “to guarantee a democratic transition for the Gabonese people.”
Gabon’s Constitutional Court has transferred part of the presidential powers to the prime minister and the vice president in Bongo’s absence.
The Bongo family has ruled the oil-producing country for nearly half a century.
Bongo has been president since succeeding his father, Omar, who died in 2009. His reelection in 2016 was marred by claims of fraud and violent protests.