EITI Chairman expresses concern about arrests of Civil Society representatives in Gabon

The Gabonese authorities arrested six civil society activists and journalists on 31 December 2008. Among the four still in detention are Marc Ona Essangui, member of the EITI Interest Group and PWYP Coordinator in Gabon, Georges Mpaga, also from PWYP, and Gregory Ngoua Mintsa of the non-governmental organisation ROLBG, who is civil plaintiff in a complaint filed in Paris on 2 December 2008, calling for an investigation into assets acquired in France by the Heads of State of Gabon, the Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea. The EITI Chairman has communicated his concern about the arrests to President El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba, recalling that the free and active engagement of civil society is an indispensable precondition for credible and sustainable EITI implementation.

International civil society and other partners are actively investigating the case and calling on the Gabonese authorities for its swift resolution (see PWYP press release). The EITI Board and the EITI International Secretariat will remain in close contact with national and international partners to work towards a solution.