Earlier this week, soldiers from Gabon’s military took control of state radio and television headquarters in an attempt to overthrow the government and “restore democracy” to the country. They assumed the population would rise up against the government – not an entirely unreasonable assumption, given the country’s economic degradation in recent years – and so neglected to secure support from other military personnel and the political opposition. The coup failed spectacularly, and within a few hours, the Gabonese military had either arrested or killed the coup plotters, retaken control of state broadcasters, cut off the country’s internet access and deployed tanks in the capital, Libreville.
That there’s such deep-rooted dissatisfaction in the country may come as a surprise considering that, for decades, Gabon has had one of the highest per capita gross domestic products in sub-Saharan Africa (nearly 5 times the current average). That’s because it has reserves of a fe
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