Angola, Republic of Congo call for respect of Bongo’s physical integrity

The presidents of Angola and the Republic of the Congo on Thursday condemned the military coup in Gabon, where the military ousted President Ali Bongo.

Angolan President Joao Lourenco and his Republic of Congo counterpart Denis Sassou Nguesso discussed the political crisis in Gabon at a meeting in the Congolese town of Oyo, more than 400 kilometers (248.5 miles) from the capital Brazzaville.

A statement by Congo’s presidency said the heads of state called for “respect for the physical integrity of President Bongo, that of his family and loved ones, as well as that of senior officials of the institutions.”

“The heads of state urge all actors to favor political means to preserve the peace, unity and serenity of the Gabonese people.”

Lourenco and Sassou Nguesso also called for an urgent summit of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) bloc to provide the organization with leadership in order to avoid a legal vacuum which could stall their activities following the Gabon coup.

In February, Bongo had assumed the one-year rotating chairmanship of the bloc.

The two leaders meanwhile agreed to maintain cooperation and to contribute to preservation of peace in the sub-region.

A group of senior Gabonese army officers appeared on national television on Wednesday and announced they had seized power and put Bongo under house arrest.

The move came shortly after the Gabonese Election Center confirmed that the incumbent president had officially won a third term with 64.27% of the vote.

The coup leaders announced that they had arrested a number of ousted government officials including Bongo’s son and his chief of staff, two presidential advisers and two top officials of the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG).

Bongo had been in power for more than a decade.

The coup leaders named Brice Oligui Nguema, the former head of the most powerful security unit, the Gabonese Republican Guard, as the country’s transitional president.

Gabon is the latest African country to witness a military coup after Niger last month and Mali in 2022.

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