Gabon opposition urges military junta to hand power back to civilians


Pressure mounted on coup leaders in Gabon to hand back power to a civilian government on Friday, two days after they overthrew President Ali Bongo and announced their own head of state.

Military officers seized power on Wednesday, minutes after an announcement that Bongo had secured a third term in an election.

The officers placed Bongo under house arrest and installed General Brice Oligui Nguema as transitional leader. The takeover ended the Bongo family's 56-year hold on power.

The coup - West and Central Africa's eighth in three years - drew cheering crowds onto the streets of the capital, Libreville, but condemnation from abroad and at home.

Central African regional bloc ECCAS urged partners led by the United Nations and the African Union to support a rapid return to constitutional order, it said in a statement dated Aug. 31 after an extraordinary meeting. It said it would reconvene on Monday.

She said that the junta's plan to inaugurate Nguema as head of state on Monday was "absurd".

Crackdown on Bongo entourage


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