Gabon’s head of state for the transition period, General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, had telephone conversations with the French ambassador and the leaders of a number of Central African states before the coup. of state. As the newspaper Le Monde reported, citing a source, Mr. Nguema was not against the French presence in the republic.
According to information from the daily, Mr. Nguema tried to explain his intentions to the interlocutors. “He is a balanced and discreet man. He told me that the army no longer wanted to be used to kill Gabonese people after each election. His putsch does not follow the same logic as those in the Sahel. There is no question of him asking for the departure of the French,” noted the source.
Another source of the newspaper believes that the aim of the coup is to avoid a wave of protests against ousted President Ali Bongo Ondimba. “If people had taken to the streets, General Oligui Nguema and all the regime’s executives would have had to leave,” explained an interlocutor of the edition.
Another source calls the putsch a palace coup. According to him, Mr. Nguema had been in conflict with the president’s wife, Sylvia, and their son for several months. The source says family members were trying to consolidate their influence after the stroke of Mr Ondimba, who entered his third presidential term with the sole aim of grooming a successor represented by his son.
A group of senior Gabonese military officials announced earlier on national television that they had seized power. The rebels include representatives of the Republican Guard led by Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, the security service, the army and the police. The putschists canceled the results of the August 26 elections, won by Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba, for whom it was the third term. The current head of state and representatives of his administration have been placed under arrest.
A peaceful settlement of the crisis in Gabon
The European Union plans to establish diplomatic contacts with the Gabonese putschists and does not envisage a tough solution, unlike in Niger where a possible military operation is possible. This was stated by the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell at a press conference following an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Toledo, Spain.
“The situation in Gabon is absolutely different than in Niger, and so we want to act in a peaceful, diplomatic way, in order to find a way to meet the aspirations of the Gabonese people,” he said. According to him, the Toledo meeting focused in particular on a possible military operation by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Niger.