The government of Gabon has said the political situation in the country is “under control”, following an attempted coup.

A government spokesman, Guy-Bertrand told reporters that four of the rebels had been arrested by the authorities. A fifth is on the run.

Junior officers had earlier claimed they seized power “to restore democracy” in the oil rich country where the ailing leader, Ali Bongo’s family has ruled for half a century.

In a video circulating on social media, three young soldiers can be seen in a radio studio wearing military fatigues and holding guns.
“It (the president’s new year message reinforced doubts about his ability to assume the responsibilities of his role as President of the Republic”, said Lt Kelly Ondo Obiang, the leader of the so-called Patriotic Movement of the Defence and Security Forces of Gabon.
He appealed to young people to “take charge of their destiny”.

Most of the capital remains calm, a resident told the Reuters news agency.

The president was reported to be recovering from a stroke he suffered last year after seeking treatment abroad. Rumours spread that he was incapacitated. He sought to put an end to the rumours about his health with a televised new year message in which he said he was feeling fine.

Ali Bongo succeeded his father, Omar Bongo, who died in 2009. His re-election in 2016 was marred by allegations of fraud and violent protest.

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