Gabon’s deposed president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, was released from house arrest on Wednesday evening and is free to leave the country for medical treatment, according to the military which toppled him from power on August 30.
“Given his state of health, the former President of the Republic Ali Bongo Ondimba is free to move about. He may, if he wishes, travel abroad for medical checkups,” declared Gabon’s military spokesman Colonel Ulrich Manfoumbi in a statement read on national television on Wednesday evening.
According to Al-Jazeera, Bongo suffered a stroke five years ago and has not had access to his own doctors, so he has the option to leave the country if he decides to do so.
The statement announcing Bongo’s release from house arrest was signed by General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, who was sworn in as Gabon’s new head of state on Monday.
BCEAO Raises Rates
In the meantime, West Africa’s Central Bank, BCEAO, hiked its main lending rate on Wednesday in the wake of another military coup in Niger that has rocked the region and caused trade blocks between countries.
BCEAO announced that it will raise the rate by 25 basis points to 3.25% starting September 16.
As well, it stated that the increase in key rates is intended to anticipate and manage the impact of risk factors on the Union’s macroeconomic outlook.
Following the military coup that occurred on July 26, 2023, in the Republic of the Niger, in which the country’s presidential guard removed and detained President Mohamed Bazoum, the bank shut down its branches, citing risks to operations.