Former President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, who had been under house arrest since a military coup on August 30th, has been released by the military that removed him from power last month.
Bongo’s detention followed his controversial re-election in polls that would have extended his 14-year presidency.
In a statement read on national television, Gabon’s military spokesperson Colonel Ulrich Manfoumbi announced that, “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.”
The release statement was signed by General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, who assumed office as Gabon’s new head of state on Monday. General Oligui, a cousin of Bongo, had previously served as a bodyguard to Bongo’s late father and had also led the country’s republican guard, an elite military unit.
This move offers Bongo the option to leave the country for medical treatment. Bongo’s health has been a concern since he suffered a stroke five years ago, and he has not had access to his own doctors.
Upon taking his oath of office at the presidential palace on Monday, General Oligui stated that the military had taken control of the country without violence and would facilitate the return of power to the people through credible and free elections.
While the coup has garnered support among the Gabonese public, it has drawn criticism from the African Union and the international community at large.Email your news TIPS to Editor@kahawatungu.com or WhatsApp +254707482874