Deposed Gabonese leader, Bongo, released from house arrest by new military President, Nguema


LIBREVILLE – Gabon’s former president, Ali Bongo, has been released from house arrest and is free to leave the country for medical treatment, the military which removed him from power last month has said.

Bongo, who had been held under house arrest since a military coup on August 30, was toppled from power shortly after he was declared the winner of much-criticised elections that would have seen him extend his 14-year rule as president.

Aljezeera reports that the statement announcing Bongo’s release from house arrest was signed by Brice Nguema, who was sworn in as Gabon’s new Head of State on Monday.

Nguema said given Bongo’s state of health, the former president was free to move about.

Bongo may, if he wishes, travel abroad for medical checkups,” Gabon’s military spokesman, Ulrich Manfoumbi, said in a statement read on national television on Wednesday evening.

Nguema is a cousin of Bongo, had served as a bodyguard to Bongo’s late father and also headed the country’s republican guard, an elite military unit.

Bongo suffered a stroke five years ago and has not had access to his own doctors, Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque reports.

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“For his family it’s another issue. His wife was held on the fourth floor of the presidential palace with his son Noureddin. All of them are accused of high treason,” Haque said.

The coup has been welcomed by members of the public in Gabon but had drawn condemnation from the African Union and the international community.

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