50 to 100 dead in post-vote violence, Gabon opposition says

LIBREVILLE, Sept 6 (Reuters) - The African Union said on Tuesday it would send a delegation to Gabon to help resolve a post-election standoff between President Ali Bongo, whose family has ruled for a half century, and his main opposition rival that triggered deadly riots last week.

The opposition has accused Bongo of rigging the vote and called for a recount - a call echoed by Manuel Valls, prime minister of Gabon's former colonial power France.

Speaking on France's Europe 1 radio station, Bongo said that criticism by European Union observers against the voting process in Gabon is "biased".

"What people should be asking me to do is apply the law".

Clashes quickly broke out in the Central African country after the.

Ping called on Tuesday for global help, and told Reuters: "Everybody knows the result and everybody knows that Bongo is doing everything not to accept it". The opposition questions the results from Bongo's home province, Haut-Ogooue, where the voter turnout was 99.93 percent and Bongo received 95 percent of those votes. According to the interior ministry, turnout in the other provinces varied between 45 percent and 71 percent. In this context, observers requested Monday that separately published the results of all the polling to restore lost confidence in the electoral process transparent.

Chadian President Idriss Deby, one of Africa's longest-ruling presidents and chairman of the pan-African body, was likely to lead the talks, he said.

In an interview with French radio station RTL on Tuesday, Valls suggested that a recount might reduce tensions in the country.

Ping says he has no faith in the constitutional court because it is tied to the Bongo family and that he wants a recount done under worldwide supervision before any appeal to that court.

Ping has yet to announce whether he will challenge the election in the Constitutional Court.

Calling for calm, he told French broadcaster France24 that 50 to 100 people had been killed since last week, figures that could not be independently verified.

Ping also vowed to guarantee complete security for Bongo and his family if he stepped down from the presidency and pledged there would not be a witch hunt once he had departed. Gabon is a former French colony. But it has ruled out intervening in Gabon, where it has a military base. Protesters set fire to the parliament building and more than 1,000 people were arrested.



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