But the attempt alone shows a growing frustration with a government weakened by the President's secretive medical leave.
Five soldiers were arrested after taking over a national radio and calling for their fellow soldiers to rise against the government.
Security forces stormed the radio station in the capital Libreville to take it back, killing two rebel troops, arresting their leader and freeing journalists who had been forced to help rebels make their appeal. He slurred some of his words and did not move his right arm, but otherwise appeared in good health.
Earlier on Monday a soldier who identified himself as Liuetenant Obiang Ondo Kelly, commander of the Republican Guard, read out a statement saying the military had seized control of the government of the West African country.
The government is in place.
The government spokesman Guy-Bertrand Mapangou told France 24 that: "The government is in place". He has been in Morocco since November to continue treatment. His narrow reelection in 2016 was marred by violence and accusations of fraud.
The 59-year-old, scion of a family that has ruled Gabon for more than half a century, has not been in the country since October.
For the past 50 years, the Bongo family has dominated Gabon, where a third of the population lives below the poverty line despite the country's vast mineral wealth.
A sharp drop in oil production and prices in recent years has squeezed revenues and stoked discontent.
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 coup-leader said the takeover was being carried out against "those who, in a cowardly way, assassinated our young compatriots on the night of August 31, 2016".
The coup attempts "shows that the people are not happy", former Prime Minister Raymond Ndong Sima said from Libreville. Protesters rallied in the streets, clashing with police and setting fire to the parliament building, but security forces launched a deadly assault on the opposition party's headquarters, forcing Mr. Ping to flee.