Africa

Gabon election: Security forces storm opposition HQ after disputed result

Smoke and flames billow from the National Assembly building in Libreville after it was set ablaze on August 31, 2016 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Smoke and flames poured from the national assembly building in Libreville

Gabonese security forces have stormed the headquarters of the defeated presidential candidate, Jean Ping, after they accused "armed criminals" of torching the parliament.

Mr Ping said two people had been killed as live shots were fired.

His supporters had been staging protests after official results gave President Ali Bongo a narrow victory in Saturday's presidential election.

They accused the government of stealing the election.

The election result, announced on Wednesday afternoon, gave Mr Bongo a second seven-year term with 49.8% of the vote to Mr Ping's 48.2% - a margin of 5,594 votes.

But Mr Ping disputes the result in one province which show a 99.93% turnout with 95% voting for Ali Bongo.

EU election monitor spokesperson Sarah Crozier told BBC Newsday "it's not a very common result, that's for sure".

Mr Ping said the election was fraudulent and "everybody knows" he won.

He also denounced the raid which happened while he was not in the building.

"They attacked around 01:00 (00:00 GMT). It is the republican guard," he said. "They were bombarding with helicopters and then they attacked on the ground."

Mr Ping has called for international assistance to protect the population and has called for voting figures from each polling station to made public.

The US and EU have also called for the results to be made public while UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged calm.

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Supporters of Mr Ping clashed with police
Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption They accuse the government of stealing the election
Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Soldiers were called in to disperse protesters

Mr Bongo took office in 2009 after an election marred by violence, succeeding his father Omar Bongo who had come to power in 1967.

Mr Ping had been a close ally of Omar Bongo, serving him in ministerial roles and having two children with his daughter, Pascaline, a former Gabonese foreign minister herself.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Ping had been a long-time ally of former President Omar Bongo
Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Mr Bongo took over from his father as president in 2009

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