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Gabon President Ali Bongo ‘Placed in Retirement’ Following Military Coup

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LIBREVILLE, Gabon — Gabon President Ali Bongo has been “placed in retirement”, according to Brice Nguema, the head of his Presidential Guard.

The statement was given on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, in an interview with French newspaper Le Monde after rebel military officers announced they had toppled Bongo’s government.

“He has been placed in retirement. He has all his rights. He’s an ordinary Gabonese person, like everyone,” Nguema said.

However, he refuted claims that he had become the leader of the putsch, even though he was shown on state TV being lifted by hundreds of soldiers chanting, “Oligui President.”

Nguema further elaborated on the reasons for the military coup.

“There was discontent in Gabon, and beyond this discontent, there was the head of state’s illness,” he stated. “Everyone is talking about it, but no one was doing anything about it.”

According to Nguema, Bongo’s 2018 stroke, which led to his absence from public life for nearly a year and caused mobility and speech issues, added to existing discontents.

“He had no right to do a third term. The constitution had been trampled on. The electoral process was not the right one. So the army decided to turn the page and do something,” Nguema added.

Earlier this week, Gabon’s electoral authority announced that Bongo had won a third term with 64.27% of the vote, following a disputed weekend election.

Bongo’s continuation in power would have extended his family’s rule, which has lasted for over 53 years.

This comes at a time of increasing international concern about military coups in Africa.

The United States has expressed its deep concern over the undemocratic shifts in governance and is monitoring the situation closely.

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