Who is Brice Olegoy Nguema, the alleged coup leader in Gabon? | News

Nguema heads the Gabon Presidency’s Republican Guard, the country’s strongest security unit.

Minutes after the electoral commission in Gabon announced, on Wednesday, that President Ali Bongo Ondimba won a third term, senior army officers announced a coup and annulled the election results.

According to local media reports, Brice Clothier Oligwe Nguema, commander-in-chief of the Gabonese Republican Guard – the country’s most powerful security unit – and Bongo’s cousin, is the leader of the attempted coup.

Here’s what we know about it so far.

strong personality

Nguema is one of the most influential and mysterious figures in the country today. He is the son of a military officer, trained at the Royal Military Academy in Meknes, Morocco.

Nguema then served as Bongo’s aide to a commander in the Republican Guard of former President Omar Bongo, until the former Gabonese leader’s death in 2009.

When Ali Bongo, Omar Bongo’s son, came to power in October 2009, Nguema was sent to Morocco and Senegal to carry out diplomatic missions. A decade later, he assumed the position of Chief of the Guard.

Gabonese soldiers appear on television on August 30, 2023, announcing that they will “put an end to the current regime” and annul the elections won by President Ali Bongo Ondimba, according to official results. (Screenshot from Gabon 24/AFP)

The Guard, whose military officers are identifiable by their green berets, is responsible for presidential security. As its head, Nguema attempted to fortify Gabon’s internal security systems through reforms that were seen as prolonging Bongo’s stay in power.

According to local media reports, Nguema also composed a song that included the phrase: “I will defend my president with honor and loyalty.”


Besides military and diplomatic duties, Nguema was seen as a businessman and also thought of as a millionaire in Gabonese circles.

according to Investigation 2020 Through the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) on the Bongo family’s assets in the US, Nguema invested in real estate, paying with cash.

“He purchased three properties in the middle-class and working-class suburban Maryland neighborhoods of Hyattsville and Silver Spring, outside D.C., in 2015 and 2018. The homes were purchased totaling more than $1 million in cash,” according to the OCCRP. The report said.

When reporters asked Nguema about this property, he said it was a private matter.

“I think that whether in France or the United States, private life is a private life that (must) be respected.”

(Al Jazeera)

Nguema for the presidency?

In an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde on Wednesday, Nguema said echo those thoughts.

β€œAnd along with this discontent, there is the illness of the head of state (Ali Bongo suffered a stroke in October 2018, which weakened him). Everyone talks about it, but no one takes responsibility. He had no right to serve a third term, the constitution was violated, and he did not The election method itself was not good, so the army decided to turn the page and assume its responsibilities,” Nguema said.

He added that Ali Bongo can retire and continue to enjoy his rights like any other Gabonese citizen, adding that the generals will meet to decide on a successor to Bongo at 14:00 GMT on Wednesday.

And while Bongo is currently under house arrest after winning the annulled elections with 64.27 percent of the vote, it seems that the Gabonese soldiers are starting to celebrate Nguema.

Unverified videos and photos on social media showed a group of soldiers dancing with Nguema and dubbing him Gabon’s “next strongman”.

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