|Jan. 8, 2019 -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday condemned an attempt to topple President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon who has been recuperating in Morocco from a stroke.
"The secretary-general and others have been fully briefed on the coup attempt in the capital of Libreville," said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. "His special representative for Central Africa Francois Lounceny Fall is monitoring the events closely and is ready to provide good offices if and as required."
"As a principle, the secretary-general has always stood against unconstitutional changes of power, especially by force and in that light he condemns the attempted coup that took place this (Monday) morning in Gabon," the spokesman said in reply to a question about the attempt during a regular briefing.
"The secretary-general does take note that calm appears to have returned to Libreville and calls on all actors to follow the constitution," Dujarric said.
The Gabonese opposition has been critical of the president's more than two months of absence after suffering a stroke in Saudi Arabia in October. Ali Bongo has been in office since 2009.
Media reports said Gabon has arrested four soldiers who attempted to take control of the national radio station Monday morning, quoting government spokesman Guy-Bertrand Mapangou.
Soldiers entered the national radio station in Libreville around 4 a.m. local time to read a statement in which they announced the setting up of a "national council of the restoration."
In the statement, Kelly Ondo Obiang, lieutenant of the Republican Guard, said that they were disappointed by the message delivered on Dec. 31 by Ali Bongo, which "rather heightened doubts about his ability to assume the office of President of the Republic."
The Gabonese president's office issued a statement saying all was calm in the capital.