The presidents of Angola and the Republic of the Congo have unequivocally denounced the recent military coup in Gabon, which led to the ousting of President Ali Bongo.
In a high-level meeting held in the Congolese town of Oyo, situated over 400 kilometers (248.5 miles) away from the Congolese capital of Brazzaville, Angolan President Joao Lourenco and his counterpart from the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, engaged in discussions concerning the political turmoil unfolding in Gabon.
A statement issued by the presidency of the Republic of Congo emphasized the urgent need for “the preservation of President Bongo’s physical well-being, that of his family, close associates, as well as senior officials within the governmental institutions.”
Furthermore, the heads of state urged all relevant parties to prioritize diplomatic and political channels as a means to safeguard the peace, unity, and tranquility of the Gabonese populace.
In a joint effort to address the crisis, Presidents Lourenco and Sassou Nguesso also called for an immediate summit within the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) bloc. Their objective is to provide much-needed leadership and prevent any potential legal vacuums that might impede the organization’s operations in the aftermath of the Gabonese coup.
It’s worth noting that, just last February, President Bongo had assumed the rotating chairmanship of the ECCAS.
In a show of solidarity, the two leaders underscored their commitment to fostering cooperation and contributing to the preservation of peace within the broader sub-region.
The recent events in Gabon unfolded when a group of senior Gabonese army officers made a televised announcement, declaring their seizure of power and the placement of President Bongo under house arrest. These developments transpired shortly after the Gabonese Election Center officially confirmed Bongo’s victory, securing a third term with an impressive 64.27% of the vote.
The coup leaders further disclosed the apprehension of several key figures from the ousted government, including President Bongo’s son, his chief of staff, two presidential advisers, and two prominent officials from the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG).
Having held power for more than a decade, President Bongo was dethroned, and in his place, the coup leaders appointed Brice Oligui Nguema, the former head of the formidable Gabonese Republican Guard, as the nation’s transitional president.
The military coup in Gabon adds to a series of political upheavals in African nations, following similar incidents in Niger last month and Mali in 2022. The region remains a focal point for political developments with significant implications for the continent’s stability and governance.