Gabon’s former Under-17 coach is facing charges of raping minors and sexual assault as authorities continue to investigate allegations of widespread sexual abuse in the country.
Patrick Assoumou Eyi – known as “Capello” - faces up to 30 years in prison if found guilty of charges that could also include attempted rape on minors and endangering the life of another. Eyi was arrested on 21 December after accusations by alleged victims were reported by the Guardian.
Two other coaches - Tout Puissant Akwembé’s Orphee Mickala and Triphel Mabicka from Libreville’s Moussavou FC - are also facing being charged.
“Patrick Constant Assoumou Eyi alias Capello, Orphee Mickala and Triphel Mabicka alias coach Kolo have been referred to the prosecutor’s office, which has opened an inquiry before they are charged by the examining magistrate,” said prosecutor Andre Patrick Roponat. “The investigation continues and other arrests are underway.”
Roponat also confirmed that taekwondo coach Martin Avera - known as Master Chacka - has also been arrested on suspicion of paedophilia and is also expected to be charged.
“Gabonese sport has been shaken by the revelations made by English newspaper the Guardian,” he added. “Revelations alleging acts of paedophilia committed by coaches in several domains in Gabonese sports. These denunciations profoundly shocked Gabonese people and tarnished the image of our country and has led the justice to open an investigation in all the country and all sports.”
Gabon’s president, Ali Bongo, has described the claims as “a very serious matter”.