Military officers ‘stage coup’ in Gabon: media

The military have seized power in Gabon, according to media reports, after months of speculation on whether their ailing leader President Ali Bongo is fit to run the country.

Soldiers in the West African country say the coup is intended “to restore democracy”.

They took control of the national radio station in the early hours of Monday to read a short statement announcing a “National Restoration Council”.

A video of the address was posted by an organisation calling itself the Gabonese Council of Resistance for the respect of democracy, freedom and human rights in Gabon.

Tanks and armed vehicles could be seen on the streets of the capital Libreville, and reports also suggest that gunfire could be heard.

President Ali Bongo took over power in 2009. He reportedly suffered a stroke in October and received treatment in Morocco.

Bongo sought to put an end to the rumours about his health with a New Year message in which he said he was feeling fine.

The soldiers said they were disappointed by the message, calling it a “relentless attempt to cling onto power.”