Gabonese military junta names Brice Oligui Nguema as transitional leader Image: Reuters

People celebrate in support of the putschists in a street of Libreville, Gabon August 30, 2023

People celebrate in support of the putschists in a street of Libreville, Gabon August 30, 2023

The Gabonese military junta has named Brice Oligui Nguema as the country’s transitional leader. This after they deposed President Ali Bongo, who had been in power for 14 years. World leaders have denounced the unconstitutional change of government.

Gabon’s coup is the 8th in West and Central Africa in three years. Widespread condemnation of military interventions have done little to unseat coup leaders in Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger and Chad since 2020. Sanctions imposed on some of these countries have hit ordinary citizens the hardest. There were scenes of jubilation in Gabon as the Bongo’s iron-fisted rule came to an end.

“In view of the above, General Oligui Nguema has ordered the reconnection of the fibre optic cable and the restoration of international radio and TV signals on the various broadcasting packages available in Gabon. In addition, the president of the transition insists on the need to maintain calm and serenity in our beautiful country. He pledges to preserve the economic tools that guarantee social prosperity,” says Colonel Ulrich Manfoumbi of the Gabonese Army.

Oligui Nguema is the head of the Republican Guard.

The coup happened just after Bongo was declared the winner of the presidential election. There had been concerns about lack of transparency in that vote. Bongo has pleaded with the world to help him.

“The people here have arrested me and my family, my son is somewhere, my wife is in another place and I’m at the residence. Right now, I am at the residence and nothing, nothing is happening. I don’t know what’s going on, so I am calling to make noise, to make noise really, I am thanking you. Thank you,” says Bongo.

The unconstitutional change of government in Libreville has been denounced by the international community.

“The Secretary- General is following closely the evolving situation in Gabon. He notes with deep concern the announcement of the election results amidst report of serious infringements of fundamental freedoms. He firmly condemns the ongoing coup attempt as a means to resolve the post electoral crisis. The Secretary-General reaffirms his strong opposition to military coups. He calls on all actors involved to exercise restraint, engage in an inclusive and meaning dialogue and ensure that rule of law and human rights are fully respected,” says spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric.

The African Union’s Peace and Security Council is expected to discuss the political stand-off in Gabon.


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