Gabon's new strongman General Brice Nguema speaks as he is inaugurated as Gabon's interim President, in Libreville on September 4, 2023.

Military junta leader is sworn in as Gabon’s interim president

By Duarte Mendonca and Nimi Princewill, CNN

CNN — The leader of Gabon’s military junta, Gen. Brice Nguema, was sworn in as interim president by the country’s constitutional court during a televised ceremony Monday.

Last week, Nguema led a coup that ousted President Ali Bongo Ondimba, a military takeover that appears to have truncated the Bongo family’s decades-long dominance over Gabonese politics.

Bongo, 64, succeeded his father Omar Bongo, who ruled the Central African nation with an iron fist for more than four decades before his death in 2009.

Ahead of last Wednesday’s coup, Bongo, who has been in power for nearly 14 years, was declared winner of a disputed presidential election that was marred by voting delays and internet cuts. The Bongo administration had also obstructed coverage of the vote by foreign press.

TOPSHOT – A general view of a torn campaign billboard of ousted Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba in Libreville on August 31, 2023. People in the central African state of Gabon eagerly awaited a steer on their future on August 31, 2023 after military officers put an end to 55 years of rule by the Bongo family.

President Ali Bongo Ondimba, son of Omar Bongo who ruled for more than 41 years, was toppled on August 30, 2023 by army officers following elections in which he vied for a third term in office. (Photo by AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

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The ousted leader was placed on house arrest by the junta, which also voided the election results and shut the country’s borders, triggering global condemnation of the coup.

Celebrations also broke out across the tiny nation with thousands of supporters expressing solidarity with the military.

Nguema, a former bodyguard for Omar Bongo, was swiftly installed as a transitional leader.

He was inaugurated as interim president on Monday amid a military parade and cheers from his civilian supporters.

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