Gabon’s new military leader, General Brice Oligui Nguema was sworn in as the head of state Monday less than a week after ousting the president whose family had ruled the Central African nation for more than five decades.
Oligui who led a coup last week that toppled Gabon’s 55-year-old dynasty, has been sworn in as the interim President and took the oath of office on Monday, promising to hold “free and transparent elections” after an unspecified period.
Speaking to applause and standing ovations Monday, Oligui said the military had seized power without bloodshed and promised to return power to the people by organising free, transparent and credible elections.
“With the new government, made up of experienced people, we’re going to give everyone a chance to hope,” he said.
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Oligui, head of the elite Republican Guard, led officers in a coup on Wednesday against President Ali Bongo Ondimba, scion of a family that had ruled since 1967.
The ousting came just moments after Bongo, 64, was proclaimed victor in last month’s presidential election, a result branded a fraud by the opposition.
“I swear before God and the Gabonese people to faithfully preserve the republican regime,” said Oligui.
Dressed in the red ceremonial costume of the Republican Guard, Oligui also swore to “preserve the achievements of democracy”, at the ceremony held before judges of the Constitutional Court.
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He immediately pledged in a speech to hold “free and transparent elections” after a transition period which he did not specify, and to amnesty “prisoners of conscience.”
Gabon has restored internet access after a three-day nationwide shutdown. The shutdown was imposed by the government of President Ali Bongo Ondimba following the announcement by a group of army officers that they were scrapping the election results that had granted Bongo another term in office.
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