Brazzaville — "This is unfounded news". This i show local sources heard by Fides in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo, deny rumors of an alleged military coup that deposed President Denis Sassou-Nguesso.
The latter is in New York to participate in the United Nations General Assembly which, like every year, is held in mid-September. News of the alleged coup was spread by some (perhaps pro-Russian) Telegram channels, according to which units of the army and presidential guard took advantage of the president's absence to seize the power.
"Fictitious information suggests that serious events are taking place in Brazaville", said the Minister of Communications and Media and government spokesperson, Thierry Moungalla, on his X (formerly Twitter) account. "The Government denies this information, which it considers to be false. We reassure public opinion about the calm that reigns and invite people to carry out their activities peacefully".
Sassou-Nguesso, 79 years old, ruled Congo from 1979 to 1992, then continuously from 1997 to today. He won a fourth term in the 2021 elections, after introducing constitutional reforms in a disputed referendum in 2015. His family is linked to that of Gabon's deposed president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, since his daughter Edith Nguesso had married his father, former president Omar Bongo, in 1990. After the coup in Gabon at the end of August (see Fides, 30/8/2023), followed by the one in Niger (see Fides, 27/7/2023), concerns have increased in some African capitals where seemingly steadfast presidents have reigned longest. In some cases, military leaders have been replaced as a precautionary measure to break the chains of command for possible coups being prepared.