1,000 Arrested in Gabon Clashes

1,000 Arrested in Gabon Clashes1,000 Arrested in Gabon Clashes

Three people were killed and up to 1,100 were arrested in Gabon on Thursday, the government said, in a second day of rioting over the announcement of President Ali Bongo’s reelection and his main rival’s accusation that the vote was rigged.

Opposition challenger Jean Ping accused the elections commission of inflating Bongo’s score to hand him a slim victory and extend his family’s nearly half-century rule in the oil-producing Central African country for another seven years. Ping called on Bongo to step down, France24 reported.

Violent protests raged in at least nine neighborhoods of the capital Libreville, two witnesses and a police source said on Thursday, a day after demonstrators set fire to the parliament building following the results’ announcement.

“We want everyone to see, to tour the city, to witness the level of devastation, destruction, violence organized by certain politicians who do not want to recognize their defeat,” Interior Minister Pacome Moubelet Boubeya said.

He told a news conference that several television stations, supermarkets, shops and private homes had been looted in Libreville and the city hall was targeted by arsonists. “Violence erupted in several other cities and provinces as well,” he added.

Ping told Reuters in an interview that two people were killed and others wounded when the presidential guard assaulted his party headquarters overnight.

He called for international assistance to protect the population against what he described as “a rogue state”.

He said that contesting the results through Gabon’s constitutional court, the official channel for complaints, was pointless.