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Gabon Putschists Name Gen. Nguema Transitional President

Leaders of a coup in Gabon has named Gen. Brice Oligui Nguema, transitional president after seizing power following disputed elections in which President Ali Bongo Ondimba, whose family has ruled for 56 years, had been declared the winner.

The junta’s spokesperson, Lt. Colonel Ulrich Manfoumbi, made the announcement hours after a meeting between the country’s military officers.

“General Oligui Nguema Brice was unanimously appointed chairman of the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions, chairman of the transition”, Manfoumbi announced in a press release read on national television, Gabon 24.

The junta on Wednesday ousted the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, who had been in power since 2009, accusing him of leadership failure.

Nguema is one of the most influential and enigmatic figures in Gabon and is believed to be related to the deposed president. 

As the son of a military officer, he was inclined to join the military from a young age and trained at the Royal Military Academy of Meknes, in Morocco.

His military skills were noticed by members of Gabon’s former President Omar Bongo’s Republican Guard.

Nguema then served as Bongo’s “aides-de-camp” or military assistant to a commander in the guard, until the former Gabonese leader’s death in 2009.

When Omar Bongo’s son Ali Bongo rose to power in October 2009, Nguema was sent to Morocco and Senegal for diplomatic missions, but returned to Gabon in 2018. A year later, he took over as the head of the guard.

Meanwhile, Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, has strongly condemned the coup d’etat in Gabon.

He commented on the development in a statement published by the African Union(AU).

Mahmat expressed concern over the situation in Gabon and called for the rapid return to democracy.

The statement partly reads: “He strongly recalls that it constitutes a flagrant violation of the legal and political instruments of the African Union, including the African Charter on Elections, Democracy and Governance.

“He further calls on the national army and security forces to adhere strictly to their republican vocation and to guarantee the physical integrity of the President of the Republic, members of his family, and those of his government.

“The Chairman of the Commission encourages all political, civil, and military actors in Gabon to give priority to peaceful political avenues, and a rapid return to democratic constitutional order in the country.”



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