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Demonstrators in oil-rich Gabon have clashed with police and set the national assembly on fire after President Ali Bongo was declared winner of Saturday’s presidential election.
Opposition candidate Jean Ping who disputes the outcome, said on social media that several people have been killed in the violence which erupted in the capital Libreville.
#Gabon: Clashes erupt in Gabon after Bongo re-election announced. Photo
mlongari</a> <a href="https://t.co/xK5Cx7UppY">pic.twitter.com/xK5Cx7UppY</a></p>— AFP Photo Department (AFPphoto) August 31, 2016
Police used tear gas and water cannon in a bid to break up the protests which erupted following a bitterly fought campaign.
Opposition members of the Central African country’s electoral commission have rejected the first-past-the-post election result which sees Bongo’s family extend its nearly half-century rule by another seven years.
The official results have Ali Bongo winning with 49.8 percent of the vote with his main rival Jean Ping narrowly trailing with 48.2 percent
“This victory by such a tight score obliges … each of us to respect the verdict of the ballot box and our institutions,” Bongo said in the text of a victory speech distributed to reporters.
“Our country is advancing and that advance must take place with the unity and peace so dear to the Gabonese people.”
Both sides have traded accusations of fraud and an EU observer mission has criticised the lack of transparency in the running of the election.
Gabon’s economic troubles, caused by falling oil output and prices, have led to budget cuts in one of Africa’s richest nations and fuelled opposition charges that its 1.8 million people have struggled under Bongo’s leadership.