The orchestrator of the coup that removed Gabon President Ali Bongo from power was officially sworn in as the interim president by judges of the constitutional court on Monday.
This televised ceremony aimed to cement the junta’s control over the government.
In what marked the eighth coup in West and Central Africa within a span of three years, military officers, led by General Brice Oligui Nguema, seized control on August 30th.
This was just minutes after the announcement of Bongo’s third-term victory in an election that they subsequently annulled, citing concerns about its credibility.
General Nguema received a standing ovation from an audience consisting of military officers and officials upon his arrival at the ceremony and again after taking the oath of office.
State television broadcasted scenes of a jubilant crowd and tanks firing into the sea to commemorate the occasion.
The coup brought an end to the Bongo family’s 56-year rule over the oil-rich nation and prompted celebrations among the local population but drew condemnation from the international community.
Leaders of the Central African regional bloc ECCAS were set to convene in person on Monday to discuss their response to the leadership change.
Last week, they called upon international partners, including the United Nations and the African Union, to support a swift return to constitutional governance.
The junta has not provided a specific timeline for how long it intends to retain power.
General Nguema mentioned on Friday that they would move forward “swiftly but cautiously,” emphasizing the importance of ensuring credible elections and avoiding haste that could undermine their legitimacy.