COUP: Gabon arrest the country’s "Chiwengas, SB Moyos" Operation Restore Legacy fails

COUP: Gabon arrest the country’s

It had "reinforced doubts about the president's ability to continue to carry out of the responsibilities of his office", said Lt Obiang.

Shots were heard in the around state television offices in the centre of the capital around the same time at 6:30 am (0530 GMT), and military vehicles blocked access to the site, an AFP correspondent said.

Reuters witness, however, reports that much of the capital, Libreville, remained calm.

Bongo became ill in October while on a visit to Saudi Arabia.

Gabon - one of Africa's top oil producers - has been ruled by the Bongo family for more than 50 years.

He called it "a hard period" and a challenge that he surmounted "thanks to God".

During Bongo's extended absence, new powers were granted to Gabon's vice president, Pierre-Claver Maganga Moussavou. "His health problems are now behind him".

In a video on social media, Ondo is seen in a radio studio wearing military fatigues and a green beret as he reads the statement.

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President Bongo announced the military coup mission was over after two plotters were killed and other army officers were arrested. "Ondo Obiang also made what appears to be a reference to deadly violence after Bongo's disputed election win in 2016, saying this apparent power grab is in protest at those who assassinated our young compatriots in a cowardly fashion in Aug 2016".

It has a population of 1.8 million people, with an average life expectancy of 62 years.

The South African statement recalls the African Union's rejection of any unconstitutional change of government and calls on the Gabonese army to restore the democratically elected government in Gabon.

The show of force is an attempt to protect U.S. assets from possible "violent demonstrations" as the country's powerful Catholic Church warned of a popular "uprising" if incorrect results are announced. "Will the French salvage the regime? It's not visible yet".

The quick failure of Monday's coup and the lack of widespread support suggest further efforts to overthrow Bongo are unlikely, analysts said.

"Additional forces may deploy to Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, or the Republic of Congo, if necessary for these purposes".

US troops deployed to the central African nation of Gabon last week in response to potential violence in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) remain committed to their mission despite prospective unrest linked to a failed coup attempt on Monday. Mr. Bongo edged out his opponent, Jean Ping, but the 2016 contest was marred by accusations that the vote counting was tainted by fraud.

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