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Gabon junta frees ousted President Bongo on health grounds

Gabon’s military leaders have announced an end to deposed President Ali Bongo’s house arrest, saying he’s now “free to move about”.

In a communique read on state TV on Wednesday evening, military spokesperson Col Ulrich Manfoumbi said the decision to free Mr Bongo was due to “his state of health”.

“He may, if he wishes, travel abroad for medical check-ups,” he added.

After the military staged a coup on 30 August, they placed the former president under house arrest and announced they were in control of the oil-rich country.

The decision to free him follows pressure from the Central African regional bloc Eccas and Gabon’s neighbours, to respect the physical integrity of the ousted head of state.

In 2018, Mr Bongo suffered a stroke.

His health was a major source of concern for many in the build-up to the 2023 presidential election.

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