Coup in Gabon Has “revived a feeling of hope, security in the public”: Catholic Official

Archbishop Jean-Patrick Iba Ba of Libreville Archdiocese with General Brice Oligui Nguema. Credit: Fr. Serge-Patrick Mabickassa

The military coup in Gabon that ousted President Ali Bongo from power on August 30 has revived hope among the people of God in the Central African nation, an official at the country’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference has said. 

In a message shared with ACI Africa on Thursday, September 7, the Coordinator of the Episcopal Commission for Social Communication and Culture at the Episcopal Conference of Gabon (CEG), Fr. Serge-Patrick Mabickassa, says, “From 30 August 2023 to the present day, there has been a healthy collaboration between the population and the military. On the whole, the Gabonese people have reconciled with their army.”

“This act by the defence and security forces has been and continues to be welcomed by the people,” Fr. Mabickassa further says, and continues, “It should be noted that this act of bravery and high responsibility on the part of the military has revived a feeling of hope and security in the public.”

The August 30 announcement by Gabonese military officers that they had seized power came shortly after President Bongo was declared winner of the August 26 presidential poll. Mr. Bongo was placed under house arrest and General Brice Oligui Nguema was appointed leader of the transition.

General Nguema was sworn in as transitional president of the West African nation in the presidential palace in the capital, Libreville, on September 4. The ceremony had army officials, and religious leaders among the attendees.


In his speech after being sworn in, General Nguema said his administration intends to “return power to civilians by organizing new elections that will be free, transparent, credible, and peaceful.”

General Nguema released overthrown President Bongo from house arrest on September 6.

In his message shared with ACI Africa on September 7, Fr. Mabickassa says the Church is closely following the developments in the country “with close attention”. 

“In faith, hope and charity, the Church is following developments in the situation with close attention, while hoping that all the nation's driving forces will show wisdom and moderation in the best interests of the nation,” the Gabonese Catholic Priest says.  

He goes on to cite the Catholic Archbishop Jean-Patrick Iba Ba of Libreville as emphasizing “the sacredness of life and respect for human dignity” at a consultative meeting initiated by General Nguema.

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On August 31, Fr. Mabickassa told ACI Africa that there were “explosions of joy on the streets of Gabon” after the military announced it had toppled President Bongo.

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