Gabon’s Coup Leader Sworn In As Interim President

The leader of the military junta in Gabon, General Brice Oligui Nguema, has taken the oath of office as interim president of the Central African country.

During the swearing-in ceremony held before judges of the Constitutional Court on Monday in Liberrevile, the nation’s capital, Nguema promised to hold free and transparent elections after an unspecified period.

Dressed in the red ceremonial costume of the Republican Guard, Oligui also swore to “preserve the achievements of democracy” and also promised to grant amnesty to prisoners of conscience.

Oligui also vowed to create more democratic institutions that respect human rights, but said he would proceed “without haste”.

I swear before God and the Gabonese people to faithfully preserve the republican regime,” said Oligui.

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 was proclaimed victor in last month’s presidential election — a result branded a fraud by the opposition.

The coup leaders on Wednesday said they had dissolved the nation’s institutions, cancelled the election results and temporarily closed the borders.

Other countries have not acknowledged Oligui as Gabon’s legitimate leader, and he faces pressure to spell out his plans for restoring civilian rule.

The coup leader was lifted up triumphantly by his troops following the announcement of the coup, and in the days since, has been seen flanked by generals and colonels.

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