LIBREVILLE (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – The leader of the coup that ousted Gabonese President Ali Bongo was sworn in as interim president by Constitutional Court judges on Monday in a televised ceremony designed to solidify the junta’s grip on power.
In the eighth coup in West and Central Africa in three years, military officers led by General Brice Oligui Nguema seized power on August 30, minutes after the announcement that Bongo had secured a third term in elections – a result which they canceled and which they defined as not credible. .
Nguema received a standing ovation from an audience of military officials and officers as he arrived for the ceremony, and again immediately after he was sworn in. State TV showed images of cheering crowds and tanks firing into the sea to mark the moment.
The coup, which ended the Bongo family’s 56-year power in the oil-producing country, drew cheering crowds to the streets of the capital Libreville but drew condemnation from abroad.
The leaders of the Central African regional bloc ECCAS will meet in person on Monday to discuss their response to the ouster. Last week they urged partners led by the United Nations and the African Union to support a speedy return to constitutional order.
The junta has not yet said how long it intends to hold on to power. Nguema said on Friday it would proceed “quickly but surely,” but warned that too much haste could lead to an election lacking credibility.
(Reporting by Gerauds Wilfried Obangome and Nellie Peyton Writing by Alessandra Prentice and Estelle Shirbon Editing by Peter Graff and Christina Fincher)