Home Africa Gabon junta releases Ali Bongo, grants him permission to travel abroad for...

Gabon junta releases Ali Bongo, grants him permission to travel abroad for treatment

Incumbent Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba is fitted with a microphone ahead of tonight's televised electoral debate on August 24, 2016 at the Gabon National Television building in Libreville. / AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARI

Ali Bongo has been released from house arrest by the military junta in Gabon, eight days after he was deposed as president.

The new military leaders in the Central African nation said Bongo is free to leave the country for medical treatment.

Bongo was toppled on the morning the electoral umpire announced that he had been re-elected to a third term in office.

On Monday, Brice Nguema, an army general who led the coup, was sworn in as interim president.

Nguema who is Bongo’s cousin, served as a bodyguard to Bongo’s late father and also headed the country’s republican guard, an elite military unit.

The statement announcing Bongo’s release from house arrest was signed by Nguema.

“Given his state of health, the former President of the Republic Ali Bongo Ondimba is free to move about,” Ulrich Manfoumbi, the military spokesperson, said in the statement read on national television on Wednesday evening.

“He may, if he wishes, travel abroad for medical checkups.”

Bongo became president when Omar, his father, died after ruling from 1967 to 2009.

The military is yet to announce a transition to civilian rule programme.

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