In Gabon, rebel soldiers announced the new ruler after the coup - Newsida

In Gabon, rebel soldiers announced the new ruler after the coup

Libreville, Gabon (AFP) – Rebel troops in Gabon announced the new rulers on Wednesday, overthrowing the head of the Republican Guard when they secluded President Ali Bongo Ondimba at home, accusing him of treachery and embezzlement during his lengthy rule in Gabon. Central Africa.

The military leaders of the coup announced on Gabon’s state television that General Brice Clotaire Olga Nguema was appointed as the “interim” president by a consensus committee that has been overseeing the country’s affairs. Olga Nguema, who is a cousin of Olguin Bongo, made this announcement immediately after winning the current presidential election in the country.

In a video disseminated from his residence, Bongo asked people to support him and “create noise.” However, instead, he took to the streets, singing the national anthem to celebrate the coup against the family, and was accused of enriching himself at the expense of the nation’s resources, while many citizens struggled to survive.

Bongo and his late father ruled Gabon for 55 years. “Thank you, military. Finally. We have been waiting for this moment for a long time,” said Yolande Okomo, a member of the Republican Guard who participated in the coup.

The coup leaders said they have decided to impose a curfew that will be in effect from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., although people will be allowed to move freely during the day on Thursday.

“The head of the transition has emphasized the need to maintain peace and stability in our beautiful country… On the threshold of a new era, we will ensure the security, strength, and dignity of our beloved Gabon,” the military spokesperson said.

Olguin, the new military ruler, was an aide to Bongo’s father, the late President Omar Bongo and a local journalist for Echos du Nord reported. Before becoming the head of the Republican Guard, Olguin was also the head of the Secret Service in 2019.

Ali Bongo Ondimba, 64 years old, had been in power since coming to power in 2009 after his father’s death and had served two terms, leading the country for a total of 41 years, during which his rule was marred by considerable discontent on a large scale. Another group of soldiers had attempted a brief and unsuccessful coup in January 2019, which was swiftly crushed.

Mutineers in Gabon

Although Gabon is rich in oil, its wealth is concentrated among a few individuals despite its association with the former French colony. According to the World Bank, nearly 40% of Gabonese between the ages of 15 and 24 were unemployed in 2020. The oil revenue reached up to $6 billion in 2022, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In France, nine members of the Bongo family are under investigation, facing allegations ranging from embezzlement to money laundering and other forms of corruption, according to Sherpa, a French non-governmental organization dedicated to accountability. The group revealed that investigators have linked this family to over $92 million worth of assets in France, including two villas in Nice.

The coup leaders’ spokesperson stated that Bongo’s “unexpected and irresponsible style of governance” is pushing the country towards dangerous instability. In a subsequent statement, the coup leaders mentioned that they had arrested close associates of the president for “serious embezzlement of state institutions, embezzlement of public funds, and international tax evasion.”

Analysts warned that the military takeover in Gabon could increase the risk of instability and further divide between the ruling elite, which has prioritized efforts to improve the lives of Gabonese citizens, and the more self-serving interests.

Sherpa stated that while the Bongo family’s connection to “misuse of state assets” has been cleared, the recent developments should be observed with caution, as they do not guarantee good governance or democratic transition.

In Gabon, the coup follows just a month after the military in Niger seized power from an elected government in a coup and is the latest in a series of coup attempts in Western and Central Africa in recent years. Majah Bukun, a senior analyst at Wyrichcraft, said that the conspiratorial elements of the coup in Gabon have taken advantage of the exceptionality, boosting the morale of the Gabonese military.

In elections held at the end of the week, Bongo had to face the opposition alliance led by Albert Ondo Ossa, a professor of economics and former Minister of Education. Shortly after Bongo was declared victorious, gunshots were heard in the capital, Libreville. Soon after, a junior officer in military uniform announced on state television that they had seized power.

Madinga reported from Dakar, Senegal. Associated Press writers Cara Anna in Nairobi, Kenya; Jamey Keaten in Geneva; Angela Charlton and Oleg Cetinic in Paris; Jon Gambrell and Malak Harb in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Zine Arone in the Senegalese city of Dakar contributed to this report.

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