In the wake of the August 30 coup in Gabon, ousted president Ali Bongo was placed under house arrest and his eldest son and wife ‘taken away’ to unknown locations he said in his address appealing for help.
It turns out that the military junta that seized power was holding his son, Nourredin Bongo Valentin, 31 years old,and other close allies of the former president.
Valentin was named “co-ordinator of presidential affairs” in 2019 and remained in the post for 21 months, according to Radio France Internationale (RFI).
As part of announcements by the junta in the immediate aftermath of the coup, seven arrests were confirmed by spokesperson of the junta.
The five included:
a. Nourredin Bongo Valentin,
b. Chief of Staff Ian Ghislain Ngoulou,
c. Deputy Chief of Staff Mohamed Ali Saliou,
d. Senior advisors Abdul Hosseini, Jessye Ella Ekogha,
e. As well as Steeve Nzegho Dieko and Cyriaque Mvourandjiami, top ruling party officials
Their charges among others were: high treason, embezzlement of public funds, international financial embezzlement, forgery and use of forgery, falsification of the signature of the President of the Republic, active corruption and drug trafficking.
The junta assured that the relevant judicial bodies will be constituted and the accused will be give a fair trial.
This is despite the fact that key state institutions including the Constitutional Court had been dissolved in the main coup announcement.
Soldiers announced in the wee hours of August 30 that they had seized power, barely an hour after Ali Bongo had been declared winner of the August 26 preidential elections.
They said the move was to correct wrongs in governance ocassioned by an ailing president and a fraudulent electoral process – they also annulled the conduct of the polls.
The National Assembly was also dissolved as was the president’s cabinet.
It has since emerged that the leader of the coup, General Brice Oligui Nguema, a cousin to the president and former aide-de-camp of Omar Bongo, the president’s father till his death in 2009.