The coup attempt in Gabon on January 7th was thwarted and two soldiers that took part in it were killed, Radio France Internationale reported.
They were shot dead after security officers stormed the national radio building which they had taken over. Three others are under arrest.
“The situation is under control,” a presidency statement said.
The soldiers undertook the coup while Gabon President Ali Bongo was in Morocco recovering from a stroke. They called for people to “rise up” and bring back democracy in the country which has been ruled by Bongo’s family for about 50 years.
“The situation is calm. The gendarmes who are often stationed there have taken control of the entire area around the radio and TV headquarters, so everything is back to normal”, said Guy-Bertrand Mapangou, a spokesman for the government of the central African country.
RFI also confirmed that there was no curfew announced, television was back on, but internet and social networks were still cut off as of the afternoon of January 7th.
Mapangou said that the army generals, civil society and opposition leaders mentioned in the rebels’ statement as potential supporters would be investigated. The main opposition group in the country, The Coalition for the New Republic, denied any link with the rebel soldiers.
Coup leader Lt Kelly Ondo Obiang was on the run for a brief period, before being found hiding under a bed, according to reports.
In the early hours of January 7th, five soldiers took over the state radio station in the capital Libreville. Lt Obiang read a short statement announcing a “National Restoration Council.”
“If you are eating, stop; if you are having a drink, stop; if you are sleeping, wake up. Wake up your neighbours… rise up as one and take control of the street.”
In the nearby Cocotiers settlement some youths set fire to a car and some tires, while security forces fired tear gas at them.
80 heavily armed US soldiers were deployed to Gabon, several days ahead of the coup attempt. The pretext was concerns over the elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, due to expected violent protests.
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