Gabon says it has put down an apparent coup attempt, after armed soldiers seized a state radio station early Monday morning and broadcast a statement saying the nation was under their control, and that a new leader would be chosen.
Government spokesman Guy-Bertran Mapangou told reporters that soldiers who briefly took over the national radio on Monday morning had been arrested.
Authorities regained control of state broadcasting offices and a major thoroughfare in the capital, Libreville, which were the only areas taken over by the officers, the spokesman said.
Most of Libreville remained calm but there was a strong police and military presence on the street and helicopters circled overhead.
Approximately 150 coup plotters arrested M'ba, and a number of his government officials and a provisional government was subsequently formed. Bongo's father was president before him and the family has controlled the country for more than half a century.
The takeover attempt was sparked by "reinforced doubts about the president's ability to continue to carry out the responsibilities of his office", said Lt. Kelly Ondo Obiang, the leader of a breakaway military force, quoted in a Reuters report.
The attempted coup came as a surprise as the military has supported Bongo's presidency since he took power in 2009.
Local news described the event as an "attempted coup d'etat" and said the Gabon Republican Guard was seizing power.
Bongo addressed the Gabonese people in a televised message on New Year's Eve, saying he had been through a hard period. Their wealth comes from oil, but aside from Bongo's family and their associates in the capital, few citizens have seen any benefit from all that money and much of the nation is steeped in poverty.
The officers had launched the coup claiming that they wanted to "to restore democracy" in a statement which is similar to what the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) claimed when they launched Operation Restore Legacy in November 2017.
As he spoke, Ondo Obiang was bracketed by two fellow soldiers, who held assault rifles and gave emphatic nods of agreement during his almost 6-minute address.
The military takeover has also happened just days after America sent in troops in Gabon over concerns of violent chaos in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, where election results have been delayed.