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Clashes as Bongo beats Jean Ping

Credit Aljazeera News 31st August 2016

Protests in capital Libreville turn violent as supporters of opposition leader Jean Ping say the vote was "stolen".

Violence has erupted in the Gabonese capital after President Ali Bongo was declared winner of a presidential election.

Opposition leader Jean Ping said on Thursday that two people were killed and many wounded when the presidential guard and police attacked his party's headquarters overnight.

"They attacked around 1:00 am (0000 GMT). It is the Republican Guard. They were bombarding with helicopters and then they attacked on the ground. There are 19 people injured, some of them very seriously," said Ping, who was not at the party headquarters.

Ping supporters had clashed with security forces in Libreville after Bongo, the incumbent, was named the winner of the closely-fought election.

Moments after the poll results were announced, anti-government protesters shouting "Ali must go!" tried to storm the offices of the election commission, according to AFP news agency.

The president of the opposition National Union party, Zacharie Myboto, who was inside the besieged building, said security forces were hurling tear gas canisters and had opened fire.

"For nearly an hour the building has been surrounded. They want to enter the building... it is extremely violent," he said shortly after the siege began.

A resident said government forces also attacked the RTN opposition radio and television station.

State television reported that Bongo's ministers would meet on Thursday morning.

Looting and clashes also followed Bongo's last election win in 2009, when he came to power after the death of his father, longtime ruler Omar Bongo.

Bongo won this election with 49.8 percent of the vote, while Ping had 48.23 percent. The constitutional court must finalise provisional results, which came a day later than expected.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged political leaders and their supporters "to refrain from further acts that could undermine the peace and stability of the country." He also called on security forces to exercise restraint.