The United States has suspended most non-humanitarian aid to Gabon after August’s military takeover in the country.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the “pause in certain foreign assistance programs”, pending a review into the outing of the country’s former president Ali Bongo Ondimba.

Mr Blinken said the suspension would not affect US government operations in the oil-rich west African nation and his statement on Tuesday did not elaborate on which US funding would be affected or how much money would be placed on hold.

The US also suspended some aid to Niger when the military overthrew the government earlier this year, but has yet to formally determine if what happened was a coup.

US Pacific Island Summit
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (AP)

Mr Blinken said: “This interim measure is consistent with steps taken by the Economic Community of Central African States, the African Union, and other international partners, and will continue while we review the facts on the ground in Gabon.

“We are continuing US government operational activities in Gabon, including diplomatic and consular operations supporting US citizens.”

Gabon’s new military leader was sworn in as head of state less than a week after ousting the president whose family had ruled the nation for more than five decades.

General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema took the oath in the presidential palace in Libreville. He is a cousin of the ousted president, served as a bodyguard to his late father and is head of the Republican guard, an elite military unit.

The ousted president had served two terms since coming to power in 2009 after the death of his father, who ruled the country for 41 years. Another group of mutinous soldiers attempted a coup in 2019 but was quickly overpowered.

According to the World Bank, the former French colony is a member of OPEC, but its oil wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few, and nearly 40% of Gabonese aged 15 to 24 were out of work in 2020.