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Gabon to Swear In Transitional Leader After Coup in OPEC Member

(Bloomberg) -- Gabon will swear in General Brice Nguema as transitional president on Sept. 4, as the country’s junta decided to reestablish the Constitutional Court on a temporary basis.

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The junta appointed the head of the republican guard as transitional president on Wednesday, hours after seizing power in the OPEC member. The process will lead to a gradual set-up of transitional institutions, a military spokesman said on state television in the capital, Libreville, on Thursday evening.

Soldiers placed President Ali Bongo under house arrest and annulled an Aug. 26 election in which he secured a third term. The military officers also dissolved the country’s institutions.

Nguema, who is also chairman of the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions, as the junta calls itself, instructed all secretaries-general of ministries and all heads of state services to resume work immediately and ensure continuity in public services.

The putsch in the former French colony is the ninth in sub-Saharan Africa in the past three years, and follows a coup in Niger last month. The military takeover drew condemnation from the US, Nigeria, France and the African Union, as it sparked a slump in Gabon’s dollar bonds and raised concerns of a spillover of the selloff to other African countries with high political risk.

The Peace and Security Council of the AU suspended the central African nation from all activities and organs of the regional bloc until the restoration of constitutional order. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, cautioned against using force to restore civilian rule, saying the coup is distinct from the one in Niger.

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