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GABON: Bongo ‘placed in retirement’ – Presidential guard head

GABON President Ali Bongo has “been placed in retirement,” the head of his presidential guard told Le Monde newspaper on Wednesday after rebel officers said they had toppled him.

“He has been placed in retirement. He has all his rights. He’s an ordinary Gabonese person, like everyone,” Brice Oligui Nguema said, while denying that he had become the leader of the putsch.

The leader of the Presidential Guard was seen in video footage broadcast on state TV earlier Wednesday being held aloft by hundreds of soldiers who were chanting “Oligui president.”

Asked why Bongo had been toppled, he told the newspaper: “There was discontent in Gabon and beyond this discontent there was the head of state’s illness. Everyone is 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.

Bongo suffered a stroke in 2018 which side-lined him from public life for 10 months and left him with mobility problems and speaking difficulties.

Gabon’s electoral authority had announced earlier Wednesday that Bongo had won a third term with 64.27 of the vote after a disputed election at the weekend.

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