Gabon’s military leadership has reopened the country’s borders for transport ahead of the oil-rich nation’s inauguration today, September 4, of General Brice Nguema as its transitional president.
Bloomberg reports that a spokesman for the junta told state television on Saturday that land, sea and air borders had been opened with immediate effect. The reopening of the country’s borders comes after Nguema led soldiers to seize power from President Ali Bongo last Wednesday, August 30.
The Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions (CTRI), the name of the junta, said in the broadcast that the border opening showed it was “anxious to preserve respect for the rule of law, good relations with our neighbours and all the states of the world, and in order to promote the continuity of the state”.
The CTRI has also lifted a dusk-to-dawn curfew for travellers.
Bongo remains under house arrest as the junta has annulled an election in which he secured a third term.
Bloomberg reports that the putsch in the former French colony is the ninth in sub-Saharan Africa in the past three years, and follows a coup in Niger a month earlier.
While the military takeover drew condemnation from the US, Nigeria, France and the African Union, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell cautioned against using force to restore civilian rule, saying the coup was distinct from the others in the region.
News of the country’s border reopening has been widely welcomed as Gabon is a crucial oil exporter, producing about 210 000 barrels daily.
Its largest energy markets trading partner is China.