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Gabon: After coup, General Brice Nguema to be sworn in as 'transitional president' Monday

Gabonese soldiers gather ahead of a possible address by General Brice Oligui Nguema in Libreville on September 2, 2023.   -  
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Gabon's new transitional president, Brice Oligui Nguema, will be sworn in on Monday. After a "bloodless" putsch, the general has promised to install "more democratic institutions" before "free elections".

On Saturday, military authorities signalled a return to normalcy with the reopening of land, sea and air borders.

A spokesman for Gabon's military rulers said on state TV that they had "decided with immediate effect to reopen the land, sea and air borders as of this Saturday".

"In order to ensure continued respect for the rule of law, good relations with our neighbours and with all states around the world, and to promote the continuity of the State while demonstrating our firm determination to honour our international commitments, the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions (CTRI) has decided to reopen the land, sea and air borders with immediate effect" says Colonel Ulrich Manfoumbi Manfoumbi.

A group of 12 Gabonese soldiers had announced on Wednesday that the country's borders were closed until further notice, in a statement broadcast on the Gabon 24 television channel.

General Brice Oligui Nguema, the head of the elite Republican Guard, on Wednesday led officers in a coup against President Ali Bongo Ondimba, scion of a family that had ruled for 55 years.

His ousting came just moments after Bongo, was proclaimed victor in presidential elections at the weekend -- a result branded a fraud by the opposition.

The coup leaders said they had dissolved the nation's institutions and cancelled the election results as well as closing the borders.

Five other countries in Africa -- Mali, Guinea, Sudan, Burkina Faso and Niger -- have undergone coups in the last three years. Their new rulers have resisted demands for a short timetable for returning to barracks.

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