OMAR BONGO (73), the world's longest-serving President, who ruled Gabon for 42 years, died on Monday at a hospital in Spain. Bongo had converted the nation into a one-party state and converted himself to Islam and took the name Omar.
Bongo, one of the world's wealthiest leaders, became the longest-ruling head of government surpassing Cuba's Fidel Castro who handed over power to his brother last year.
Bongo had served as a lieutenant in the French Air Force when Gabon was a French colony. After independence, he joined the civil service. Later he became the vice- president. He assumed the presidency on December. 2, 1967, after the death of the first President Leon M'Ba.
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