Gabon Suspended by Central African Bloc Over Coup

Gabon’s new strongman General Brice Oligui Nguema (R) salutes as he is inaugurated as Gabon’s interim President, in Libreville on September 4, 2023. – Gabon’s coup leader vowed after being sworn in as interim president on September 4, 2023 to restore civilian rule through “free, transparent and credible elections” after a transition and amnesty prisoners of conscience.

The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) regional bloc, says it has suspended Gabon’s membership in response to last week’s coup.

Earlier on Monday the coup leader, Gen Brice Oligui Nguema, was sworn in as transitional president.

He seized power just after Ali Bongo was declared to have won a third term as president. He has not given a time frame for returning the country to civilian rule.

As leaders from central Africa sat around the table and decided to suspend Gabon because of the coup, there may have been a few moments of self-reflection.

Hosting the meeting was Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo who said neighbouring Gabon was a threat to peace, security and stability in the region.

The president of Equatorial Guinea is now 81 and has been in power since 1979.

His family – like that of Ali Bongo in Gabon – has been accused of large-scale looting of state resources and severe oppression of the opposition.

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He is possibly not the only African leader who has stayed in power for ages and is a little jumpy at the word “coup”.

Meanwhile, Gabon’s new strongman, General Brice Oligui Nguema, on Tuesday met the Central African Republic’s president, Faustin Archange Touadera, who has been named regional mediator for the country following last week’s coup, state TV said.

The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) has appointed Touadera “facilitator of the political process” in Gabon following the August 30 overthrow of President Ali Bongo Ondimba.

He has been tasked with meeting “all Gabonese actors and partners of the country” with the goal of providing “a rapid return to constitutional order.”

The television gave no details of the talks, which came a day after ECCAS member Equatorial Guinea said Gabon had been suspended from the 11-nation group.

ECCAS also ordered the immediate transfer of its headquarters from Gabon’s Libreville to the Equatorial Guinea capital of Malabo, the country’s vice president, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, said on X, previously known as Twitter.

In addition to Gabon, Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea, ECCAS comprises Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe.

Oligui, head of the elite Republican Guard, was sworn in on Monday as the country’s interim president.

In a speech, he promised to hold “free, transparent and credible elections” to restore civilian rule but without giving a timeframe and vowed to amnesty political prisoners.

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