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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Gabon Army Says Deposed President Is Free to Go away the Nation


Ali Bongo Ondimba, who was deposed as president of Gabon final week in a coup that ended his household’s decades-long grip on energy within the central African nation, is now not topic to accommodate arrest and is free to go away the nation, the ruling navy junta has stated.

Mr. Bongo’s well being has lengthy been a priority after he suffered a stroke 5 years in the past and was usually seen strolling with a cane. The navy stated in a press release learn on nationwide tv on Wednesday evening that he can be allowed to journey abroad for medical care.

The announcement from the navy got here two days after the chief of the coup, Gen. Brice Oligui Nguema, a cousin of the ousted chief and the pinnacle of the elite Republican Guard that was tasked with guarding him, was sworn in as Gabon’s new chief.

After taking oath on Monday, Basic Nguema promised to carry free and truthful elections however didn’t point out when or how they might happen.

The navy has additionally detained members of Mr. Bongo’s household together with a number of senior advisers on fees together with corruption, embezzlement and treason. Mr. Bongo was faraway from energy in late August, simply hours after being re-elected for a 3rd time period in a vote that was disputed by opposition teams.

It was not instantly clear the place the detainees had been or if they might be tried quickly, however for the second, Mr. Bongo seems to have been granted some freedom.

On Wednesday morning, Mr. Bongo met with Abdou Abarry, the pinnacle of the United Nations Regional Workplace for Central Africa, at his residence within the capital, Libreville.

“Given his state of well being, former president of the republic Ali Bongo Ondimba is free to maneuver about,” Col. Ulrich Manfoumbi, the spokesman for the transition committee, stated. “He could, if he so needs, journey overseas to bear medical checkups.”

The coup in Gabon was the most recent in a sequence of navy takeovers throughout Africa, afflicting nations affected by insecurity, corruption and the rising ranks of pissed off youth.

Over the previous three years, no less than 9 coups have rattled international locations in Africa, from Sudan within the northeast to Mali and Burkina Faso within the west and Chad in central Africa. The occasions in Gabon had been most lately preceded by a coup in late July in Niger, the place the navy ousted and arrested Mohamed Bazoum, the nation’s democratically elected president.

Mr. Bongo got here to energy in 2009 after the demise of his father, Omar, who dominated the oil-rich nation for greater than 4 many years. An avid musician, Mr. Bongo positioned himself as an environmental crusader and gained accolades for preserving the rainforests that cowl 90 p.c of Gabon.

The newest coup was acquired with widespread condemnation exterior Gabon, together with from the African Union, which suspended the nation’s membership. Mr. Bongo additionally appeared in a video calling for his “pals all around the world” to “make noise” concerning the navy takeover.

However there was appreciable discontentment along with his rule at house, the place the nation’s greater than two million individuals suffered underneath the yoke of poverty, rising unemployment and rising meals costs. In 2019, the authorities quashed an effort to grab energy when a bunch of troopers took over the state radio station and urged individuals to revolt towards the president.

Some civilians throughout Gabon welcomed the elimination of Mr. Bongo from energy and hoped it could herald a brand new period for the nation. Many others took to the streets this week to welcome the navy’s launch of political prisoners who had been jailed throughout his presidency.

“Why are they letting him go?” Danny Ndong, a 36-year-old banker in Libreville, stated, including, “Who will now reply for the way in which the nation was run up to now?”

Yann Leyimangoye contributed reporting from Libreville, Gabon.

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