African Union Suspends Gabon in Wake of Coup

Following the military coup that ousted President Ali Bongo from power, the African Union (AU) has announced its decision to suspend Gabon’s membership.

The AU’s Peace and Security Council issued a statement on Thursday night, expressing its strong condemnation of the unconstitutional change of government in Gabon. It also declared that Gabon would be barred from participating in any activities of the AU and its institutions “with immediate effect until constitutional order is restored in the country.” Gabon is the latest African country to face AU sanctions after Niger Republic, which was suspended a few weeks ago for a similar reason. Other countries currently under AU suspension include Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea and Sudan.

Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) has also voiced its opposition to the coup in Gabon. Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said that the EU “rejects any seizure of power by force in Gabon.”

“The challenges facing Gabon must be resolved in accordance with the principles of the rule of law, constitutional order and democracy,” Borrell wrote on Thursday in a statement.

“The country’s peace and prosperity, as well as regional stability, depend on it,” the statement added.

He called for “inclusive and substantive dialogue” instead of force to respect the rule of law, human rights and the will of the Gabonese people.

Recall that a coup d’etat took place in Gabon on Wednesday morning, as a group of military officers announced on national TV that they had dissolved the state institutions and cancelled the recent election results. They claimed that the vote was rigged and that the country’s borders were shut down.

The announcement came shortly after the electoral commission had declared incumbent President Ali Bongo, who had been ruling since 2009, the winner of the Aug. 26 poll.

The coup leaders appointed Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, the chief of the Presidential Guard, as the interim head of state on Wednesday night.

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