Kinshasa, Sept. 17 (EFE) – The government of the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) on Sunday denied rumors circulating on social media about an alleged coup attempt against President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who has been in power since 1997.
The stories claimed that the military was taking control of strategic locations in the Congolese capital, Brazzaville, which is located on the right bank of the Congo River opposite Kinshasa, the capital of the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“Fictitious information suggests that serious events are taking place in Brazzaville,” said Minister of Communication and Media and government spokesman Thierry Moungalla on his X (formerly Twitter) account.
“The government rejects this false news. We assure public opinion of the calm that prevails and invite people to go about their activities calmly,” Moungalla added, without giving further details.
Speculation about a coup in Congo has been rife since Aug. 30, when the military seized power in neighboring Gabon after electoral authorities announced the victory of ousted President Ali Bongo, who had ruled since 2009.
Nguesso, 79, announced his arrival in New York on Sunday on his X account to attend the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
“My stay in the city is also an opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations and promote the summit of the three tropical forest basins to be held next month in Brazaville,” the Congolese president added.
Nguesso won a fourth consecutive term in March 2021 with 88.57% of the vote. He first came to power in 1979 after a coup in 1977 and ruled in a one-party regime until 1992, when he lost the country’s first multiparty elections, only to return to power in 1997 after a brief but bloody civil war in which he was backed by Angolan troops.
Since then, Nguesso, nicknamed “The Emperor” by some of his African colleagues, has remained head of state after winning elections in 2002, 2009, 2016, and 2021 amid frequent accusations of fraud by the opposition.
In 2015, the president promoted a constitutional reform that allowed him to run for a new mandate in 2016, through a referendum in which he received more than 92% of support, but only 5% of voters participated.
The Congolese president is the third longest serving president in Africa, after Equatoguinean Teodoro Obiang and Cameroonian Paul Biya, who have governed since 1979 and 1982, respectively. EFE