Saturday, 3 September 2016

Jean Ping declares himself Gabonese President after post-poll violence

Gabonese opposition candidate Jean Ping declared himself president on Friday, after a disputed election that triggered two days of post-election riots against President Ali Bongo. But Ping says the poll on Saturday was a sham.

"I am the president," Ping told a news conference after being freed from his headquarters, which had earlier been surrounded by Gabonese security forces.

"The whole world knows who is the president of the republic: it's me, Jean Ping," he said. "Our country is moving toward chaos ... Peace can only occur if the truth of the ballot box is restored and respected."

Violence erupted across the Central African country on Wednesday following the announcement of a slim victory for Bongo, who was first elected in 2009 after the death of his father Omar, Gabon's president for 42 years.

Five people died in the ensuing unrest, Bongo's spokesman Alain-Claude Bilie By Nze said on Friday, and up to 1,100 arrests had been made by Thursday, according to Gabon's interior minister, Reuters reports.

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