US halts Gabon aid after military takeover

Gabon's new strongman General Brice Oligui Nguema poses for a photograph with his wife Zita Nyangue Oligui Nguema as he is inaugurated as Gabon's interim President, in Libreville on September 4, 2023. Gabon's coup leader vowed after being sworn in as interim president on September 4, 2023 to restore civilian rule through "free, transparent and credible elections" after a transition and amnesty prisoners of conscience.


The United States said Tuesday it would halt assistance to Gabon after the military took charge last month.

"The US government is pausing certain foreign assistance programs benefiting the government of Gabon while we evaluate the unconstitutional intervention by members of the country's military," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

He said that the United States was maintaining diplomatic and consular operations in the oil-rich Central African country.

The move is temporary as the State Department considers a formal determination that Gabon experienced a military coup, which under US law would snap off assistance.

US officials have previously said that US assistance was minimal to Gabon, run by the Bongo family for more than half a century.

Washington has a larger presence in both security and economic assistance in Niger, another African nation where the military recently took power.

Gabonese military leaders on August 30 overthrew Ali Bongo Ondimba just as he was proclaimed the winner of an election widely criticized for irregularities.

The military installed as prime minister the opposition leader, Raymond Ndong Sima, who in an address to the United Nations last week promised to take steps to hold new elections and called on the West not to condemn the coup "without nuance."