On Sunday, the Republic of Congo’s government (Congo-Brazzaville) Rejected rumours on social media concerning an alleged coup attempt targeting President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who has held power since 1997.
The reports suggested that the military was taking control of strategic locations in Brazzaville, the capital of Congo, situated on the right bank of the Congo River across from Kinshasa, the capital of the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
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Minister of Communication and Media and government spokesperson Thierry Moungalla addressed these claims on his X (formerly Twitter) account, stating, “Misleading information suggests that serious events are occurring in Brazzaville.” He said, “The government denies this false news. We assure the public that calm prevails and urge people to continue their activities peacefully,” providing no further details.
Speculation about a coup in Congo has been fueled since August 30 when the military took control in neighboring Gabon following the announcement of the electoral victory of ousted President Ali Bongo, who had been in power since 2009.
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President Nguesso, aged 79, announced his arrival in New York on Sunday through his X account to attend the 78th United Nations General Assembly session. He added, “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 Brazzaville.”
Nguesso secured a fourth consecutive term in March 2021 with 88.57% of the vote. He initially assumed power in 1979 following a coup in 1977 and governed in a one-party system until 1992, when he lost the country’s first multiparty elections. He returned to power in 1997 after a brief but violent civil war backed by Angolan troops.
Since then, Nguesso, often referred to as “The Emperor” by some African leaders, has remained the head of state, winning elections in 2002, 2009, 2016, and 2021, despite frequent accusations of electoral fraud from the opposition.
In 2015, the president initiated a constitutional amendment that allowed him to run for another term in 2016 through a referendum in which he received over 92% support, although only 5% of voters participated.
President Nguesso is the third longest-serving African president, following Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang and Cameroon’s Paul Biya, who have been in power since 1979 and 1982, respectively.