Coup In Gabon: General Nguema To Be Sworn In Today As President Of The Transitional Government3 min read
Head of the Presidential Guard of Gabon, the forces most loyal to the President of the Republic and responsible for his security, Nguema he is also the first cousin of the deposed president, Ali Bongo Ondimba. Trained at the military academy in Meknes, Morocco, the officer made a rapid career and soon became one of the former president’s field assistants Omar Bongo, Ali’s father, remaining in his entourage until his death in 2009.
However, the first relations with Omar’s successor were not idyllic: that year the ambitious Nguema was “sent” abroad, where Ali Bongo appointed him military attaché first at the Gabonese embassy in Morocco, then in that of Senegal. It will take almost ten years to reintegrate him into high-level security functions at home: returning in 2018 after the stroke suffered by the president while he was in Saudi Arabia, Nguema is then first appointed to the intelligence service of the Presidential Guard, then promoted for two years later as director of the same military corps in place of General Grégoire Kouna, another cousin of the president.
As head of the Presidential Guard, Nguema was charged with strengthening Gabon’s internal security systems and managing their equipment. It was he who received, last July 21, the delivery of four reconnaissance armored vehicles sold by France, material already ordered in 2020 to strengthen the forces of the armed corps but whose release had been delayed by Paris on the one hand due to the alleged difficulty for Libreville to settle the bill in its entirety, on the other hand due to the French fear that the vehicles could be involved in operations to repress any protests linked to the elections of 26 August.
Reluctance promptly disappeared, analysts observe, after the payment of 52 million dollars made at the end of June by the Gabonese government for the purchase of an Airbus C295 for military transport. In the hours following the coup, the general was cheered in Libreville by hundreds of soldiers who praised “President Oligui”.