Conflicts & War

Gabon coup leader begins releasing ‘prisoners of conscience’

Libreville, Sep 6 (EFE).- Gabon coup leader General Brice Oligui Nguema has begun a process to release prisoners of conscience from the previous regime, according to his government on Wednesday.

The release process commenced on Tuesday, a day after Nguema took oath as interim president of the country.

The detainees had been held during President Ali Bongo’s regime, which was overthrown by a group of military officers last week.

The first prisoner to benefit from the amnesty promised by the interim president during his inauguration ceremony on Monday was Jean Remy Yama, the head of the Dynamique Unitaire trade union coalition.

Yama had been in custody since February 2022 on charges that included “embezzlement of funds.”

The interim president has also ordered the release of Renaud Allogho Akoue, the former director of the National Health Insurance and Social Guarantee Fund, who was arrested in August 2022, as well as Leandre Nzue, the former mayor of Libreville, who had been imprisoned in September 2020.

Both officials faced charges related to embezzlement of public funds and money laundering, among others.

The junta, led by Nguema, announced the coup shortly after Gabonese electoral body declared president Bongo’s victory on Aug. 30, following a contentious election process held on Aug. 26.

Labeling the elections as fraudulent, the coup leaders dissolved the country’s institutions, canceled election results and temporarily closed the country’s borders.

The coup leaders placed ousted president Ali Bongo under house arrest, accusing him of treason, embezzlement of public funds, and corruption, among other charges.

The interim president has pledged that, in consultation with political parties, the coup leaders will work towards establishing “strong institutions” and implementing democratic reforms before conducting free and transparent elections.

However, he did not specify a precise date for holding fresh elections.

Gabon became the sixth African nation to witness a military coup in the last three years, joining Niger, Mali, Guinea, Sudan and Burkina Faso. EFE


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