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African Union suspends Gabon following military coup

A defaced billboard of Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba is seen on an empty street of Libreville, Gabon, Wednesday Aug. 30, 2023   -  
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Yves Laurent/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


The African Union's Peace and Security Council said Thursday it had decided to "immediately suspend" Gabon following the military coup this week.

The body said on X, formerly Twitter, that it "strongly condemns the military takeover of power in the Republic of Gabon which ousted President Ali Bongo on 30 August 2023".

It "decides to immediately suspend the participation of Gabon in all activities of the AU, its organs and institutions until the restoration of constitutional order in the country".

The announcement came after a meeting of the council on the situation in Gabon following Wednesday's coup that followed disputed elections in which Bongo was declared the winner.

It said the meeting was chaired by AU commissioner for political affairs Bankole Adeoye of Nigeria and the current holder of the council's rotating chair, Burundi's Willy Nyamitwe.

On Wednesday, the head of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, had called on the Gabonese army and security forces "to guarantee the physical integrity" of Bongo, who the coup leaders said had been placed under house arrest.

Faki also condemned the coup and said the events in Gabon were a "flagrant violation" of the legal and political instruments of the Addis Ababa-headquartered African Union.

"(Faki) encourages all political, civil and military actors in Gabon to favour peaceful political paths leading to the rapid return to democratic constitutional order in the country," he said on X.

Earlier this month, the African Union took similar action to suspend Niger after a coup in the west African country in July that toppled elected president Mohamed Bazoum.