Military Officers in Gabon Attempt a Coup

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LIBREVILLE, Gabon — Military officers in Gabon attempted to stage a coup early Monday morning, seizing the state radio station and declaring their dissatisfaction with President Ali Bongo Ondimba, who is recovering from a stroke in Morocco.

A New Year’s Eve address by Mr. Bongo “reinforced doubts about the president’s ability to continue to carry out of the responsibilities of his office,” said Lt. Kelly Ondo Obiang, the leader of the self-declared Patriotic Movement of the Defense and Security Forces of Gabon.

The radio message was broadcast at around 4:30 a.m. local time. A spokesman for the president said he would make a statement shortly.

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President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon in 2017. He is currently recovering from a stroke in Morocco.CreditGabriel Bouys/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mr. Bongo, 59, was hospitalized in October in Saudi Arabia after a stroke. He has been in Morocco since November to continue treatment.

In his speech on New Year’s Eve, Mr. Bongo acknowledged health problems but said he was recovering. He slurred some of his words and did not move his right arm, but otherwise appeared in decent health.

The Bongo family has ruled the oil-producing country of Gabon for nearly half a century. Mr. Bongo has been president since succeeding his father, Omar, who died in 2009. His re-election in 2016 was marred by claims of fraud and violent protest.

With tensions running high in nearby Congo after recent presidential elections, President Trump said on Friday that he had sent about 80 troops to Gabon in case the election dispute made it necessary to evacuate Americans.



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