Gen Brice Oligui Nguema Named New Leader by Gabon Coup Plotters

Army officers who orchestrated a coup in Gabon on Wednesday have designated General Brice Oligui Nguema as the transitional leader for the West African nation.

Previously, Gen Nguema was paraded triumphantly through the streets of Libreville, the capital, by his troops.

Deposed President Ali Bongo has surfaced in a video from his residence, appealing to his “friends all over the world” to raise their voices on his behalf. The removal of Mr. Bongo concludes his family’s 55-year grip on power.

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In the early hours of Wednesday, army officers appeared on television to announce their seizure of power. They revealed the annulment of the results of Saturday’s election, which had declared Mr. Bongo the victor, but that the opposition claimed was fraudulent.

Furthermore, the officers disclosed the arrest of one of Mr. Bongo’s sons on charges of treason.

Within a matter of hours, senior generals convened to discuss the transitional leadership and unanimously selected Gen Nguema, the former head of the presidential guard, to spearhead this phase.

Crowds in both Libreville and other regions celebrated the pronouncement by the army.

However, this coup has elicited condemnation from the United Nations, the African Union, and France—countries that shared close ties with the Bongo family.

The US State Department urged Gabon’s military to “uphold civilian rule” and called on “those responsible to release and ensure the safety of members of the government.” The UK denounced the “unconstitutional military takeover” of authority.

For quite some time, resentment towards the Bongo family, which had ruled Gabon for over half a century, had been brewing. Moreover, public dissatisfaction with broader issues such as the cost of living was also evident.

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Reflecting on these tumultuous events, an anonymous Libreville resident conveyed to the BBC, “Initially, fear gripped me, but it was then replaced with joy. Fear arose from the realization that I was living through a coup, while joy stemmed from the anticipation of the downfall of a regime we’ve long awaited to see toppled.”

SOURCE: BBC

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