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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 January 2008, 10:38 GMT
Gabon suspends 'political' NGOs
President Omar Bongo
The NGOs have expressed doubt about President Bongo's reforms
Gabon has temporarily banned the activities of up to 20 non-governmental organisations for their alleged interference in politics.

Interior Minister Andre Mba Obame said the ban would be lifted as soon as each NGO clearly defined its mission and structure with his ministry.

The NGOs had threatened to file international legal proceedings against the government.

They say it abused national resources and poured money into poll campaigns.

The organisations also expressed doubts about the government pledge to battle corruption and introduce reforms.

"If these people want to do politics, they should do it within the framework of political parties," Mr Obame said.

The NGOs concerned are organised into four umbrella networks dealing with poverty, the environment, the fight against corruption and for good governance.

Marc Ona, a spokesman for the NGO coalition, said they would act if necessary to hold the government to account.

"If politicians refuse to take responsibility, we will take the risk to put them into their proper place at international level," he said.

"African officials are now under the jurisdiction of international courts. We can open proceedings against them. We have the means and the liberty to do so."

Country profile: Gabon
23 Oct 07 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Gabon
23 Oct 07 |  Country profiles

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