Gabon coup leader sworn in as interim president

AFP

The leader of a coup that ousted Gabon's President Ali Bongo was sworn in as interim president by constitutional court judges on Monday in a televised ceremony designed to solidify the junta's grip on power.

In West and Central Africa's eighth coup in three years, military officers led by General Brice Oligui Nguema seized power on August 30, minutes after an announcement that Bongo had secured a third term in an election - a result they annulled and said was not credible.

Nguema was given a standing ovation by an audience of military officers and officials as he arrived for the ceremony, and again just after he was sworn in. State TV showed images of a cheering crowd and tanks firing into the sea to mark the moment.

The coup, which ended the Bongo family's 56-year hold on power in the oil-producing country, had drawn cheering crowds onto the streets of the capital Libreville but condemnation from abroad.

Leaders of the Central African regional bloc ECCAS are due to meet in person on Monday to discuss their response to the ouster. Last week they urged partners led by the United Nations and the African Union to support a rapid return to constitutional order.

The junta has not yet said how long it envisages holding power. On Friday, Nguema said it would proceed "quickly but surely," but cautioned that too much haste could lead to elections that lack credibility.

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