On Sunday, November 11, the Gabonese government issued a statement announcing that President Ali Bongo is currently recovering following a hospitalization at King Faisal Hospital in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia). Unconfirmed reports indicate President Bongo might have suffered a stroke or cerebrovascular accident (CVA). The Gabonese government affirmed that the president remains able to perform his duties.
Uncertainty over Bongo's health may nevertheless foment unrest in the capital Libreville and other cities over the coming days and weeks. A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected near any potential demonstration sites. Should protests develop, clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
The Gabonese government initially refuted the claim that the president's hospitalization was due to a stroke, stating instead that President Bongo was in the hospital due to "fatigue." Political tensions remain high in Gabon following the 2016 presidential elections, perceived by many as fraudulent.
Individuals in Gabon are advised to keep abreast of the situation, avoid public gatherings due to the potential for violence, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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