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Gabon military coup plotters swear-in Gen. Nguema as interim president


Gabon military coup plotters swear-in Gen. Nguema as interim president

Story from Christine TOBECHUKWU 

General Brice Nguema, the leader of Gabon‘s military junta, has been sworn in as the nation’s interim president.

Nguema, who was the head of the country’s presidential guard, led a group of soldiers to seize power from President Ali Bongo last Wednesday, shortly after he was named winner of a controversial election.

READ ALSO: We will restore democracy soon, says Gabon coup leader

The military officers had cited institutional, political, economic, and social crises as reasons for the coup.

After announcing that Bongo had been ousted, the soldiers, who identified themselves as members of the Committee of Transition and Restoration of Institutions (CTRI), said they were dissolving “all the institutions of the republic” and closing the country’s borders.

Gen. Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, took the oath in the presidential palace in front of a packed, boisterous room of government officials, military and local leaders in Gabon’s capital, Libreville.

Speaking to the cheering civilians on Monday, Nguema said the military had seized power without bloodshed and promised to return power to the people by organising free, transparent, and credible elections.

“With the new government, made up of experienced people, we’re going to give everyone a chance to hope,” he said.

Crowds of cheering civilians turned up at his inauguration – a sign there was some support for the military.

However, there are concerns Gen Nguema’s rule will be a continuation of the 55-year Bongo dynasty.

Ali Bongo’s father, Omar, was in power for 41 years before he died in 2009 and was succeeded by his son.

The general spent most of his career in Ali Bongo’s inner circle and is even thought to be the president’s cousin.

A military parade was held at Monday’s inauguration, which took place at the presidential palace in Gabon’s capital, Libreville.

Gabon military plotters swear-in Gen. Nguema as interim president
Military parade at the inauguration ceremony

Sympathisers of the new military leadership attended the ceremony.

Former ministers from the ousted government also showed up but were booed by a crowd of junta sympathisers.

The inauguration is the latest in a series of takeovers across West and Central Africa. Gabon is the sixth Francophone country to fall under military rule in the last three years as former colonial power France struggles to maintain its influence on the continent.

Gabon has been suspended from the African Union following the coup, which has been condemned by the UN and France.

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