US suspends foreign aid programs in Gabon following military coup

by MMC
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The Biden administration on Tuesday suspended most non-humanitarian aid to Gabon after a military takeover in the country last month, which was at least the second this year in an African country.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a “pause in certain foreign aid programs” to Gabonpending a review of the circumstances that led to the ouster of former President Ali Bongo Ondimba.

Flash said in a statement that the suspension would not affect U.S. government operations in the oil-rich central African country. The statement did not specify which U.S.-funded programs would be affected or how much money would be put on hold.

Gabon is the second country to experience a military takeover following the overthrow of Niger’s government earlier this year. THE WE It also suspended some aid to Niger, but has yet to formally determine whether what happened was a coup.

“This interim measure is consistent with measures taken by the Economic Community of Central African States, the African Union and other international partners, and will continue while we review the facts on the ground in Gabon,” said Blinken. “We are continuing U.S. government operational activities in Gabon, including diplomatic and consular operations on behalf of U.S. citizens.”

Earlier this month, Gabon’s new military leader was sworn in as head of state less than a week after ousting the president whose family ruled the country for more than five decades.

General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema was sworn in at the presidential palace in Libreville. Oligui is a cousin of deposed President Ali Bongo Obdimba, served as his late father’s bodyguard and is head of the Republican Guard, an elite military unit.

Bongo had served two terms since coming to power in 2009 following the death of his father, who ruled the country for 41 years, and there was widespread discontent with his family’s rule. Another group of mutinous soldiers attempted a coup in 2019 but were quickly subdued.

The former French colony is a member of OPEC, but its oil wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few – and almost 40% of Gabonese aged 15 to 24 were unemployed in 2020, according to the World Bank. Its oil export revenues were $6 billion in 2022, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

(Reuters)

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