General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema was appointed the leader of the military junta that seized control from Ali Bongo immediately after his questionable re-election on Wednesday (Aug. 30).
His unit, which included army colonels, regular troops, and others, declared control in the early hours of Wednesday.
Nguema is one of Gabon’s most powerful leaders.
He followed in his father’s footsteps as the son of a military officer. He received his training at Morocco’s Royal Military Academy.
Oligui Nguema was close to Ali Bongo’s father, late President Omar Bongo.
When Ali took office in October 2009, Nguema was reportedly sent on diplomatic missions to Morocco and Senegal in order to keep him out of power.
When he returned to Gabon, he became command of the secret service. Then, in 2019, he was named head of the Republican Guard, an elite organization in charge of the president’s protection that swears allegiance to him.
During the 55-year tenure of the Bongo family, officials including General Oligui have been accused of stealing the oil-rich nation’s treasury.
According to the French NGO Sherpa, nine members of the Bongo family are under investigation in France, with some facing preliminary charges of embezzlement, money laundering, and other forms of corruption.
Analysts have counseled prudence in the aftermath of the coup.
As a new chapter in Gabon’s history begins, all eyes are focused on the country’s military.