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Gabon youth soccer coach charged with paedophilia: judicial source

A former coach for Gabon’s under-17 soccer team accused of raping and sexually abusing young players has been arrested and charged with paedophilia, a judicial source said Monday.

Patrick Assoumou Eyi “was arrested Monday in Ntoum” some 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the capital Libreville and “is now in police hands after being charged with paedophilia”, the source told AFP.

On Friday, the country’s sports minister had announced an investigation a day after British newspaper The Guardian had reported on accusations that Eyi raped, groomed and exploited underage athletes in his care.

President Ali Bongo Ondimba (picture) described the case as “very serious and unacceptable” as the allegations emerged last week. 

He asked officials to open an investigation and requested a wider probe across all national sports federations to “eradicate potential sexual predators”.

The Gabonese Football Federation (Fegafoot) last Friday suspended Eyi and ordered the Ethics Commission of the National Football League to officially look into the matter, the federation’s spokesman Moussodji Ngoma said.

The Guardian reported that alleged victims said Eyi abused boys both as the head coach of the country’s youth side until 2017, and until recently as the technical director for La Ligue de l’Estuaire, the nation’s top league.

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