The coup leaders in Gabon have said the ousted president, Ali Bongo, has been placed in retirement and has become an ordinary citizen of the country.
Bahdstreetvibes reports that the Head of the Presidential Guard, Brice Oligui Nguema, told Le Monde newspaper this on Wednesday after senior military leaders took over power and placed Bongo under house arrest.
The leader of the Presidential Guard also denied media reports that he had become the head of the military junta.
“He has been placed in retirement. He has all his rights. He’s an ordinary Gabonese person, like everyone,” he said.
Nguema said Bongo was toppled because there was discontent in the country, and he had been battling with health problems since 2018, which sidelined him from public life for ten months.
He said: “There was discontent in Gabon, and beyond this discontent, there was the head of state’s illness. Everyone was talking about it, but no one was doing anything about it.
“He had no right to do a third term. The Constitution had been trampled on. The electoral process was not the right one. So the army decided to turn the page and do something.”
Recall that the senior military officer was seen in video footage broadcast on state TV earlier on Wednesday being named as a transitional president, according to a TV statement.
“General Oligui Nguema Brice was unanimously appointed chairman of the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions, chairman of the transition,” declared an officer in the presence of dozens of senior officers, according to the press release read out on Gabon 24.