Gabon’s President Ali Bongo has 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.
AFP was not able to determine where or when the video was captured.
Earlier, a military leader said 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) had been arrested.
They are accused of treason, embezzlement, corruption and falsifying the president’s signature, among other allegations, he said.
China has called on Bongo’s safety to be guaranteed, while former colonial power France has said it is watching developments in Gabon “with the greatest attention”.