File: AU PSC in session

African Union Suspends Gabon’s Membership

ADDIS ABABA – Gabon has been suspended from its African Union (AU) membership after a military ousted president President Ali Bongo from power on Wednesday.

The decision was made by the AU Peace and Security Council after a meeting on Thursday afternoon.

The army took over power in the West African nation after the results of a contested election declared President Bongo as the winner of a third term. Bongo – who has been in power for 14 years – is currently under house arrest.

The African Union Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat was quick to condemn the military’s move used “as a means out of the current post-electoral crisis”.

The AU Peace and Security Council on Thursday announced its decision to suspend Gabon from participating in all activities of the Union until the restoration of constitutional rule in the country.

The suspension follows the Gabonese junta announcement that said it would phase in transitional institutions.

It, however, gave no details on how long these would remain in place nor when power would be handed back to a civilian government. The main opposition alliance backed the ouster and urged the military to discuss the best way forward.

Gabon is yet another former French colony in West Africa to experience a coup – following Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Niger. France has condemned the latest events.

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said Paris is following events in the country “with the greatest attention”, according to the French news agency AFP reports.

The AFP also reported that Eramet, a French mining group, “stopped” its work in Gabon “for the safety of staff and the security of operations”.

Its subsidiary extracts manganese ore from Gabon’s Moanda mines, the world’s largest manganese mines. The mineral is used in steel-making and batteries.