A curfew has been imposed in Gabon until further notice following a failed military coup attempt on Monday, January 7. Military officers reportedly briefly took control over Boulevard Triomphal and a state radio station in Libreville on Monday, claiming that President Ali Bongo - who suffered a stroke in October 2018 and is in Morocco seeking medical treatment - is not fit to continue in office; the leader of the five officers who staged the failed coup attempt was arrested by loyalist authorities, who have regained control of the area, and two other officers involved in the attempt were reportedly killed when the security forces raided the building. Soldiers loyal to Bongo reportedly fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of people outside the radio station supportive of the coup attempt. Sporadic gunfire was heard in Libreville on Monday in the wake of the coup attempt. Western authorities have advised their nationals to continue to shelter in place until the situation fully stabilizes, although the Gabonese government reports that it has regained control of the situation.
Troops and armored vehicles are reportedly on the streets of Libreville to maintain order, and a heightened security presence is expected to remain in place in the capital over the coming days. Internet service has been cut, media access has been affected, and many shops are closed in Libreville; such disruptions are expected to continue over the coming days. Related protests and associated clashes between demonstrators supportive of the coup attempt and security forces cannot be ruled out. Transportation and business disruptions are to be expected near protest sites.
A small group of military troops launched a coup d'état attempt in Gabon around 04:00 (local time) on January 7. The statement ordered politicians and military leaders to assemble at the National Assembly and called on military forces and citizens to take control of airports, checkpoints, military establishments, and transportation centers. Gunshots were reported in Libreville.
President Ali Bongo is reportedly in Morocco seeking medical treatment. Political tensions remain high in Gabon following the 2016 presidential elections, perceived by many as fraudulent.
Individuals in Gabon are advised to monitor the situation, refrain from all travel until further notice, obey instructions issued by their home governments and the local authorities (notably curfew orders), and remain vigilant at all times.
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