Cameroon’s longest serving president shuffles army after coup in Gabon


Cameroonian President Paul Biya on Wednesday shuffled the officers in the army, air force and marine in an apparent move presumed to forestall the recent power seizures witnessed in Niger and Gabon over the last month.

The 90 year-old leader in a statement posted on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, said he had issued a decree to terminate some soldiers and move others from the country’s defence department.

Newly appointed senior military chiefs for the army include Ajeagah Njei Felix, Kamdom Lucas, and Nguema Ondo Bertin Bourger, amongst others.

Edou Essono Serge Durel and Moudio Hervé were among the newly designated officers in the Cameroon’s marine.

The sweeping changes in Cameroon came barely hours after the coup in Gabon, where President Ali Bongo Ondimba was toppled and placed under house arrest by soldiers.

However, Mr Biya who spends most of the time abroad on account of ill health did not make any reference to the coups in Niger and Gabon in his decision.

Soldiers who seized power in Niger in late July have also faced sanctions by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), although the regional powers failed to persuade the junta to return power to the democratically elected leadership.

Mr Biya assumed power in 1982 at the age of 49. He has led the nation ever since. Before he became president, he served as prime minister from 1975 to 1982. His decades-long administration has had no major impact on the Cameroonian economy, critics have said.

Over the past decade, as his health deteriorates from old age, Mr Biya has been living in his mansion in Switzerland, from where he has been governing his country’s roughly 30 million people.



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