Alertes de sécurité

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08 jan. 2019 | 20h12 UTC

Gabon: Situation normalizing in Libreville following failed coup attempt January 8 /update 4

Gabon Alerte de sécurité

Roads and businesses reopen, internet restored in Libreville on January 8; airports resume operations with significant cancelations

TIMEFRAME expected from 8/1/2019, 12h00 until 11/1/2019, 11h59 (Africa/Libreville). COUNTRY/REGION Gabon, Libreville

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Event

The situation is reportedly normalizing in Gabon as of Tuesday, January 8, following a failed military coup a day prior. The government restored internet access on Tuesday and businesses and roads in Libreville, including on Boulevard Triomphal near the state radio station, have reopened. Officials also lifted a curfew and the national television station has resumed regular programming.

Gabon also reopened border crossings with Cameroon as of Tuesday morning (local time). Officials previously closed the border to "protect [Gabonese] citizens" following the failed coup attempt. Members of the Coalition for the New Republic, Gabon's main opposition group, were traveling in Cameroon during the coup, although the group denied all links or involvement with the rebels. Airports, including Libreville's Leon-Mba International Airport (LBV), also resumed normal operations, with severe flight cancelations reported. Security reinforcements remain deployed to Libreville and a heightened security presence is expected to persist over the coming weeks. Related protests and associated clashes between demonstrators supportive of the coup attempt and security forces cannot be ruled out.

Context

A small group of military troops launched a coup d'état attempt in Gabon around 04:00 on January 7, seizing the state radio station on Boulevard Triomphal. 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.

Organizers of the coup claimed 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. Political tensions remain high in Gabon following the 2016 presidential elections, perceived by many as fraudulent.

Officials imposed a temporary curfew in Gabon on January 7-8 following the failed military coup attempt; 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. Western authorities have advised their nationals to continue to shelter in place until January 8 and remain vigilant when traveling thereafter due to the fluidity of the security situation.

Advice

Individuals in Gabon are advised to monitor the situation, obey instructions issued by their home governments and the local authorities (notably curfew orders), and remain vigilant at all times.

 

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