Deposed Gabon President Released From House Arrest, Free To Travel, Says Junta

Gabon’s ex-president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, has been granted his freedom to depart the nation for medical care, as announced by Colonel Ulrich Manfoumbi, the military spokesperson, in a televised statement on Wednesday evening.

Due to his health condition, he is now permitted to “seek medical examinations overseas.” Bongo had been under house arrest following the military coup on August 30, which occurred shortly after he was declared the winner of contentious elections that would have allowed him to prolong his 14-year presidency.

“Given his state of health, the former President of the Republic Ali Bongo Ondimba is free to move about. He may, if he wishes, travel abroad for medical checkups,” Manfoumbi said.

The statement that announced Bongo’s release from house arrest was issued by General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, who assumed the role of Gabon’s new head of state on Monday.

Oligui, a relative of Bongo and a former bodyguard to Bongo’s late father, also previously led the country’s elite military unit, the republican guard.

According to Nicolas Haque of AlJazeera, reporting from Dakar, Senegal, Bongo now has the option to depart the country if he chooses to do so.

Bongo experienced a stroke five years ago and has not had access to his personal physicians, Haque added.

“But for his family, it’s another issue. His wife was held on the fourth floor of the presidential palace with his son Noureddin; all of whom are accused of high treason,” Haque said.

According to the new leaders in the country, including Nguema, those individuals will need to be held accountable as they are alleged to have embezzled funds from the national treasury, as Haque reported.

Upon his inauguration in the presidential palace on Monday, Oligui stated that the military had assumed control of the nation without resorting to violence and was committed to restoring power to the people through the organization of transparent and unrestricted elections.

While the coup has found support among the Gabonese population, it has faced criticism from the African Union and the international community.


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