Fear of coups: AU suspends Gabon as Cameroon, Rwanda retire generals, 1,000 soldiers

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The African Union’s Peace and Security Council on Thursday suspended Gabon following the Wednesday overthrow of President Ondimba Ali Bongo by soldiers led by the head of the Republican guards, Gen Brice Nguema.The continental body in a post on X, formerly Twitter, condemned the military takeover of power in the Central African country.

This came as Rwanda and Cameroon hurriedly retired 1, 029 senior officers in a surprise move against their respective militaries.The Rwandan authorities approved the retirement of 12 generals, including two four-star generals, James Kabarebe and Fred Ibingira, two three-star generals, Charles Kayonga and Frank Mushyo Kamanzi, and several officers.

According to a Rwandan national newspaper, News Times, the government approved the retirement of 12 generals and many officers. The publication stated that the retirements were announced on Wednesday, in a statement issued by Rwanda Defence Force.

Among those retired are two four-star generals, James Kabarebe and Fred Ibingira, two three-star generals, Charles Kayonga and Frank Mushyo Kamanzi.

Kabarebe and Kayonga have previously served as Chief of Defence Staff of RDF, while the other two have been service chiefs previously. The statement partly reads, “The President has also approved the retirement of 83 senior officers, six junior officers and 86 senior non-commissioned officers, 678 whose contracts ended and 160 medical discharges.”

In Cameroon, President Paul Biya has also reshuffled the military with new appointments to the Controle Generale des Armees.The new controllers are Capt Ajeagah Njei Félix Colonel and Colonel Nguema Ondo Bertin Bourger.

Appointments were also made to the positions of Technical Advisers, Bureau Commissariat, and Air Force Technical Inspector.Disclosing its decision after a meeting of its Peace and Security Council, the AU said it “decides to immediately suspend the participation of Gabon in all activities of the AU, its organs and institutions.”

It said the meeting was chaired by the AU commissioner for political affairs, Bankole Adeoye of Nigeria, and the current holder of the council’s rotating chair, Burundi’s Willy Nyamitwe.

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