In Name, In Deed

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The US cut off financial aid to Gabon after the Biden administration concluded that the August military takeover that ousted incumbent Ali Bongo Ondimba was indeed a coup, the Voice of America reported.

US officials confirmed this week that aid has been paused since last month, but added that “humanitarian, health, and education assistance” to Gabon will continue.

The decision comes nearly two months after army officers led by Gen. Brice Clothaire Oligui Nguema seized power and placed Bongo and his family under house arrest. Nguema was later designated president of a committee aimed at eventually returning power to a civilian government.

Bongo’s ousting came shortly after Gabon’s election commission declared him the winner of the country’s general elections on Aug. 26.

He first took office in 2009 following the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who had ruled the oil-rich African nation for more than four decades.

Opponents accused the Bongo family of failing to share the country’s oil and mining wealth with the population. Meanwhile, the military has charged Bongo’s wife, Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Valentin with money laundering, forgery and falsifying records.

Authorities say the former first lady manipulated her husband, with military leaders claiming she and one of her sons misused public funds, according to Radio France Internationale.

Despite the suspension of aid, US representatives have met with Gabon’s military officials to discuss a path toward restoring democracy in the country.

Nguema has said he intends to resurrect civilian rule, without specifying a timeline.

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