Uproar in Gabon After Jean Ping Supporters Voice Outrage Over Presidential…

Soldiers patrol a street near opposition campaign headquarters in Libreville

"It was a part of securing the headquarters of Jean Ping, because all of the operations for the capital had been planned there", said Bilie-By-Nze, referring to opposition protests on Wednesday throughout the capital, Libreville. More tear gas was sacked in several locations as demonstrators vandalised, looted, and burned buildings.

"The election result must be perfectly clear and transparent", French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on RMC radio, adding that the election results should be published bureau by bureau.

"This will help give the people of Gabon, as well as the worldwide community, confidence the announced vote tallies are accurate", reports quoted US State Department spokesperson John Kirby as saying.

Chaos hit the country shortly after election officials declared on Wednesday that incumbent President Ali Bongo had won the presidential race.

Riots raged in at least nine Libreville neighbourhoods on Thursday morning, two witnesses and a police source said.

A win by Ping, a former foreign minister, African Union Commission chairman and longtime political insider, would end half a century of rule by the Bongo family. The constitutional court now must finalise the provisional results.

Overnight, security forces assaulted the headquarters of opposition leader Jean Ping, according to Ping and witnesses.

Security forces detained 800 people in the capital, Libreville, and 400 people in other areas of the country, according to Interior Minister Pacome Moubelet Boubeya.

"They attacked around 01:00 (00:00 GMT)".

Rene Ndemezo'o Obiang, Ping's campaign director, said one person was killed.

"I can't tell you that", he said.

France, the European Union, and the United States have called on the authorities to release the results of individual polling stations for the sake of transparency and urged protesters to remain calm.

"This will help give the people of Gabon - as well as the global community - confidence the announced vote tallies are accurate", said US State Department spokesman John Kirby.

Any appeal by Mr Ping would likely focus on disputed results in Haut-Ogooue province, the heartland of Bongo's Teke ethnic group.

"It's going to be hard to get people to accept these results", one member of the electoral commission told AFP, asking not to be named.

Ali Bongo, 57, succeeded his father Omar Bongo who had come to power in 1967 and passed away in 2009.

France is Gabon's former colonial power and retains strong economic and cultural links.

Oil-rich Gabon has one of the highest per-capita incomes in Africa, but few of its 1.6 million people feel the benefit.



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