Gabonese security forces stormed the headquarters of opposition presidential candidate Jean Ping after he disputed the outcome of last week’s election, as the United Nations urged the security forces to exercise restraint.
At least two people died and 19 were injured when government helicopters bombed Ping’s offices and security forces entered the building, Agence France-Presse cited the 73-year-old leader of the Union of Forces for Change as saying. On Wednesday, the National Assembly was set on fire, the news agency said, citing government spokesman Alain-Claude Bilie-By-Nze.
Violence erupted after the country’s electoral commission announced incumbent President Ali Bongo won the election with 49.8 percent of the vote against 48.2 percent for Ping, a result that was immediately rejected by the opposition. Bongo’s family has ruled the oil-producing nation since 1967.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed “deep concern” about reports of arson and clashes between protesters and security forces in Libreville after the release of the results.
“The Secretary-General urges all concerned political leaders and their supporters to refrain from further acts that could undermine the peace and stability of the country,” he said in a statement. “He also calls on the authorities to ensure that the national security forces exercise maximum restraint in their response to protests.”