Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'I love the Socialists'

Read more

WEB NEWS

Ukraine: Web users call for international assistance

Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • UN backs inquiry of IS group’s alleged crimes in Iraq

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao set for Man Utd loan on transfer deadline day

    Read more

  • Spain orders custody for parents of ill British boy

    Read more

  • Anti-government protesters storm Pakistan's state TV

    Read more

  • Putin calls for talks on 'statehood' for east Ukraine

    Read more

  • Poland marks 75 years since German invasion of WWII

    Read more

  • Israel appropriates large tracts of West Bank land

    Read more

  • Rescue efforts under way after French apartment block blast

    Read more

  • Web doc on French self-immolation protests takes top prize

    Read more

Africa

Bongo calls for calm as post-election violence flares

Video by Florence VILLEMINOT

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-09-06

Gabon's president-elect Ali Bongo has appealed for calm as violence continues in the country's second city, Port Gentil. French oil giant Total earlier pulled its foreign staff out of the riot-hit city after one of its buildings was torched.

AFP - Gabon's president-elect Ali Bongo attended a World Cup qualifying match on Saturday and appealed for calm after protests against his hotly disputed election victory that have left two people dead.



While Bongo watched Cameroon defeat Gabon 2-0 in the key match, the losing election candidates reiterated their charges that the results of the vote were fixed.

After the game Bongo, whose father Omar Bongo ruled the country for 41 years until his death in June, appealed for calm and urged his rivals to take their grievances to court.

"We are a nation of laws and therefore there are institutions in place for those who have complaints," the former defence minister told Radio France Internationale (RFI). "Calm must absolutely return to the entire territory."

Meanwhile tension boiled over again in Gabon's second city of Port-Gentil where a social club run by French oil giant Total was torched, leading the company to move its foreign staff and their families to Libreville.

At least two people were shot dead over three days of unrest in Port-Gentil since results were announced on Thursday.

Security forces battled looters overnight in the economic hub where a curfew has been ordered after a police station was also attacked.

France, the former colonial power, evacuated most of its citizens out of Port-Gentil after the French consulate there was torched on Thursday, and warned French nationals elsewhere in the country to stay in their homes.

In Libreville, Bongo wore a Gabon football jersey and even donned yellow shoes in the team colour to watch the game. He left 10 minutes before the end.

"Disappointed or afraid? In any case, it was more prudent for him to leave," said one fan named Alain.

The crowd did not shout political slogans during the match, but a few chanted "Ali, jinx!", "We waste, we waste, we break!" as they left the stadium named after Omar Bongo, who was Africa's longest-serving ruler until his death.

Ali Bongo, 50, was declared winner of the August 30 election with 42 percent of the vote.

Andre Mba Obame, a former interior minister, came in second with 26 percent of votes, followed by main opposition leader Pierre Mamboundou with 25 percent. But all three had proclaimed victory after the polls closed.

"We know that the results announced by the interior minister are false," former prime minister Jean Eyeghe Ndong, who had dropped out of the race to back Mba Obame, told a news conference.

Mba Obame, who also attended the news conference, had not been seen in public since an opposition sit-in in front of the electoral commission was broken up by police on Thursday. He declined to make any comment.

Mamboundou has not been seen since he also took part in the demonstration and his entourage says that he was injured when the protesters were dispersed.

Gabon's neighbours urged all sides to refrain from stoking unrest.

Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila, current head of the Economic Community of Central African States, urged political leaders to "abstain from any initiative that would disturb the peace."

Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, the current chairman of the African Union, telephoned Ali Bongo to express "his best wishes to the new president," Libya's official JANA news agency reported.

The French government, which has been accused by its Socialist opposition of endorsing a flawed election, denied it had a favourite candidate and said it was ready to work with the oil-rich nation's elected president.

"France did not have any candidate, none," French Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet told AFP, adding that the election was "welcomed by international observers".

Date created : 2009-09-05

COMMENT(S)