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5 Sep, 2023 12:28

Central African bloc suspends Gabon

The situation in the country poses a threat to peace and stability in the region, the president of Equatorial Guinea has claimed
Central African bloc suspends Gabon

Gabon’s membership in the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) has been suspended in response to the military coup in the country last week, the regional bloc has announced.

The decision was reached on Monday following a meeting in neighboring Equatorial Guinea, during which regional heads of state and government discussed the political and security situation in Libreville.

ECCAS “condemned the use of force to resolve political conflicts in Gabon and suspended the country from proceedings,” Angolan Foreign Minister Tete Antonio told reporters, according to Anadolu Agency.

The bloc added that it had ordered the “immediate temporary” relocation of its headquarters from Libreville in Gabon to Malabo, Equatorial Guinea’s capital, appointing Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo as its chairperson.

Prior to his removal, Gabonese President Ali Bongo assumed the one-year rotating chairmanship of ECCAS in February, with Mbasogo, who has ruled his country since 1979, serving as vice chairperson.

Speaking at Monday’s summit, the Equatorial Guinean leader said the situation in neighboring Gabon posed a threat to peace, security, and stability in the Central African region.

He called on the international and regional community to “support the Gabonese people at this difficult time, to return to constitutional order and the functioning of all the organs of the country.

Earlier on Monday, General Brice Oligui Nguema took the oath of office as Gabon’s interim president.

Nguema led the coup on August 30 that prevented Bongo from serving a third term as president. The ousted president had been in power for 14 years, succeeding his father, Omar Bongo, who ruled from 1967 until his death in 2009.

The new military ruler promised “free, transparent elections” during his inauguration but has yet to provide a clear timeline.

However, ECCAS said it “gave a deadline of one year to the transition to organize elections.