A group of senior Gabonese military officers appeared on national television early Wednesday, announcing their takeover of power shortly after the Electoral Center declared President Ali Bongo’s victory for a third term. The soldiers, led by Colonel Brice Clotaire Oligui Angouema, were seen jubilant in a circulating video clip, suggesting his pivotal role in the coup.
Brice Clotaire Oligui Angouema, a key figure in the unfolding events, holds considerable influence within the Gabonese military. He has commanded the Republican Guard since March 2020, a distinct military entity operating independently under the gendarmerie. Responsible for safeguarding public figures and institutions, this unit is the most powerful security force in Gabon.
Angouema’s trajectory within the military is notable. Initially, when Ali Bongo assumed power, he served as a military attaché at the Gabonese embassies in Morocco and later in Senegal. His return to Gabon came amid President Ali Bongo’s declining health. Within just six months, Angouema’s rapid ascent led to his promotion as the head of the Republican Guard, a remarkable trajectory that culminated in his pivotal role in the recent coup.
The coup leaders revealed that President Ali Bongo Ondimba is presently under “residential constraint,” confined to his residence and surrounded by his family and medical personnel. This announcement, made by the military officials who orchestrated the coup, underscores the dramatic power shift and the emerging influence of figures like Brice Clotaire Oligui Angouema in Gabonese politics.