Tension remains high in Gabon after a disputed presidential poll saw Ali Ben Bongo declared the winner.
Large parts of the capital Libreville remained deserted, while a curfew was in force in the oil-rich city of Port Gentil after mobs, including escaped prisoners, set fire to the French consulate. The last few days have seen widespread rioting in the sub-Saharan state, with opposition supporters claiming the vote was rigged. However, Ali Bongo, the son of Omar Bongo who ruled Gabon for more than 40 years, claimed his win was ‘a victory for democracy.’ ‘‘The competition is now finished. There are forums for appeal. Those who have complaints must put them to the bodies concerned,’‘ Ali Bongo said. Yesterday, electoral officials confirmed Bongo, the pre-poll favourite, had won – with more than 40 percent of the vote. However, ex-interior minister Andre Mba Obame, who officially came second, rejected the result as did other opposition candidate Pierre Mamboundou who was reportedly badly injured in clashes with security forces. Bongo’s rivals accuse him of fixing the election to ensure a dynastic transfer of power from his father.