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Gabon’s new military ruler sworn in as caretaker president

Gen. Oligui Nguema, named Transitional President by coupists
Yaoundé, Sept. 4, 2023

Gabon’s new military ruler, Gen. Brice Nguema, was sworn in as the country’s caretaker president on Monday, five days after seizing power in a coup in the Central African country.

The inauguration ceremony took place at Gabon’s presidential palace in the capital Libreville, which was surrounded by cheering crowds.

On Saturday, Nguema pledged to introduce more democracy after the military overthrew President Ali Bongo from the long-term ruling Bongo family on Aug. 30.

The suspension of all state institutions is a temporary measure, Nguema said on state television, without specifying any concrete steps or a timetable for new elections.

A spokesman for the putschists said later that Gabon’s borders had been reopened with immediate effect.

The military initially closed all land, sea and air borders after the putsch on August 30. Nguema, the head of the presidential guard, was then named the new ruler.

Four days earlier, Bongo was elected for a third term, according to official results that the putschists subsequently annulled, deeming them to be falsified.

The Bongo family, which has ruled autocratically for more than 50 years, has long been accused of corruption.

Gabon’s population of about 2.3 million people lives mostly in poverty inspite of the country’s oil wealth.

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