African nation denies claims of coup attempt
The government of the Republic of the Congo has denied reports of an attempted military coup against President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who has been in power for almost four decades.
“Fanciful information suggests serious events taking place in Brazzaville. The Government denies this fake news. We reassure public opinion about the calm that reigns and invite people to calmly go about their activities,” the government said in a statement on Sunday.
Rumors of a military takeover in the Central African country began circulating on social media on Sunday, while Nguesso was in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
These claims suggested that military forces began seizing critical facilities and government installations in the nation’s capital, Brazzaville.
Last month, soldiers in neighboring Gabon, a former French colony, overthrew the Central African country’s president, Ali Bongo, who had served in office for 14 years. This followed the July coup in Niger, which deposed President Mohamed Bazoum, causing tensions between the putschists and the French government, the West African country’s former colonial ruler.
Nguesso, 79, assumed the presidency of the Republic of Congo, another former French colony, in 1979 and held office until 1992. The Congolese leader, ranking as Africa’s third-longest-serving president after Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea and Paul Biya of Cameroon, returned to power following a civil war in 1997 after initially losing Congo’s inaugural multi-party elections in 1992.
In 2015, an amendment to the constitution in the oil-rich nation eliminated age restrictions for presidential candidates above 70 and removed the two-term limit, enabling Nguesso to seek reelection. He secured his fourth presidential term in the 2021 elections, receiving another five years in office.