Military says it has seized power in oil-rich Gabon, where the ailing leader’s family has ruled for 50 years.
Soldiers in the west African country of Gabon say they launched a coup “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”.
Tanks and armed vehicles can be seen on the streets of the capital Libreville.
President Ali Bongo took over power in 2009. He reportedly suffered a stroke in October and received treatment in Morocco.
Mr 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.
— Ali Özkök – علي أزكوك (@Ozkok_) January 7, 2019
Soldiers said they had been disappointed by the message, calling it “a pitiful sight” and a “relentless attempt to cling onto power.”
The Bongo family has governed the oil-rich equatorial African nation for five decades and long maintained close ties with former colonial master France.
Diplomatic ties cooled after Ali Bongo was elected in 2009 following his father’s death and French authorities launched a corruption investigation into the family’s assets.