Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba is being detained at home and one of his sons has been arrested for “treason,” military officers said Wednesday, hours after announcing they had overthrown the government.
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“President Ali Bongo is under house arrest, surrounded by his family and doctors,” they said in a statement read out on state TV.
“Bongo’s son and close adviser Noureddin Bongo Valentin, his chief of staff Ian Ghislain Ngoulou as well as his deputy, two other presidential advisers and the two top officials in the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) have been arrested,” a military leader said.
“They are accused of treason, embezzlement, corruption and falsifying the president’s signature, among other allegations,” he said.
Earlier on Wednesday, military officers said they had toppled Bongo, who has been in power for 14 years, hours after he had been declared the victor in Saturday’s elections.
In a televised statement, they said the vote results had been cancelled and “all the institutions of the republic” dissolved.
Ali Bongo has since appeared in a video calling for his “friends” to “make noise” after military officers in the oil-rich central African state staged a coup.
“I’m sending a message to all friends that we have all over the world to tell them to make noise for… the people here who arrested me and my family,” he said in English, in the clip posted on social media.
“Bongo, 64, whose family has ruled Gabon for over 55 years, was placed under house arrest and one of his sons arrested for treason,” the coup leaders said.
Bongo, who was recorded while seated but looked clearly worried, said his son was in one location while his wife was “in another place”.
“I’m at the residence and nothing is happening, I don’t know what’s going on, I’m calling (on) you to make noise,” he said.