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General Nguema assumes role as Gabon’s interim president

There are concerns Gen Nguema’s rule will be a continuation of the 55-year Bongo dynasty, as he spent most of his career in the Bongo’s inner circle. Photo: BBC

The Gabon coup leader, General Brice Nguema has been sworn in as the nation’s interim president.

In a speech after being sworn in as interim president, Gen Mguema has vowed to return power to civilians after “free, transparent” elections.

But, he did not give a date for military rule to end.

The interim president, defended the seizure of power last week, saying that it was a patriotic act.

He quoted Ghana’s former military leader, and later elected president, Jerry John Rawlings, saying that: “When the people are smashed by the leaders, then it’s the military who must give them back their dignity and freedom.

“It is in this spirit that we the defence forces took their responsibilities by refusing the… biased electoral process.”

He added that a fresh government would be formed “in a few days” and recommended new electoral legislation, a new penal code and a referendum on a new constitution.

Gen Nguema also said he had instructed the new government “to think without delay” about freeing all political prisoners.

The ceremony was broadcast live on Gabonese TV and across online platforms

BBC news report that, Crowds of cheering civilians turned up at his inauguration. a sign there is some support for the military.

A military parade was held at Monday’s inauguration, which took place at the presidential palace in Gabon’s capital, Libreville.

The inauguration is the latest in a series of takeovers across West and Central Africa.

Gabon is the sixth Francophone country to fall under military rule in the last three years as former colonial power France struggles to maintain its influence on the continent.

Gabon been suspended from the African Union following the coup, which has been condemned by the UN and France.

Writing by Abdullahi Lamino