Coup: AU Suspends Gabon After Military Ousts Ali Bongo
By Adedapo Adesanya
The African Union (AU) has suspended Gabon’s participation in all of its activities following Wednesday’s military takeover.
The decision followed a meeting on Thursday of the bloc’s Peace and Security Council.
The military in Gabon on Wednesday (August 29) seized power and placed President Ali Bongo, 64, under house arrest.
The AU said it strongly condemns the junta, which is the ninth on the continent in the last three years.
After the takeover, the Gabonese junta said it would phase in what it is calling transitional institutions after the removal of President Bongo, who had held onto power since 2009.
The ousted President Bongo was first elected in 2009, four months after the death of his father, Mr Omar Bongo Ondimba, who had ruled the country for 41 years.
Soldiers placed Mr Bongo under house arrest and annulled an August 26 election in which he secured a third term of seven years.
The soldiers gave no details on how long these would remain in place nor on how or whether power might be handed back to a civilian government.
It was, however, reported that General Brice Nguema, a relative of the ousted President, would become the transitional President on Monday, September 4, as the country’s junta decided to re-establish the Constitutional Court on a temporary basis.
The junta appointed the head of the republican guard as transitional president on Wednesday, hours after seizing power in the central African country. The process will lead to a gradual set-up of transitional institutions, a military spokesman said on state television in the capital, Libreville, on Thursday evening.
The main opposition alliance in the country has urged the junta to discuss the best way forward.
It added that Gabonese should be grateful that they had dethroned the Bongo dynasty but called on the military to act responsibly.
Also, Mr Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, cautioned against using force to restore civilian rule, saying the coup is distinct from the one in Niger.
Gabon is the latest former French colony in Africa to experience a coup in recent years – following Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and most recently Niger.