Libreville, September 2: More than 1,000 people were arrested by security forces and two were killed on Thursday of Gabon as they were protesting in capital city Libreville two days after the national elections of President in which Ali Bongo won. By this win he ensured continuation of the family dynasty that has ruled the oil-rich country for 50 years. Bongo claimed 49.8% of the votes to challenger Jean Ping's 48.2% in Saturday's vote.
The protest took place after the opposition leader Jean Ping announced that the Ali Bongo has won this election by doing fraud. He also announced that Ali Bongo has cheated to country in order to rule. He further claimed that a presidential guard helicopter bombed his headquarters, killing two people. Ping and his backers claimed victory before the tally was announced, then claimed fraud after. Security forces had sealed off the capital for now.
The Minister of Interior, Pacome Moubelet Boubeya, said Thursday that up to 800 people were arrested in the capital Libreville with hundreds more arrested elsewhere across the equatorial nation of about 1.8 million people. Meanwhile, Protesters had used grenades, and police had seized AK-47 assault rifles too.
Notably, The U.S. State Department issued a statement saying it was "deeply concerned regarding unfolding events in Gabon" and urged all sides to "temper their rhetoric and encourage their supporters to remain calm."
Bongo's father, Omar Bongo, ruled the nation for 42 years until his death in 2009. For many of those years, Ping was a trusted confidant and minister. But he left the government and became a leader of the opposition. Ali Bongo, 57, was backed by the country's elite as well as leaders of France, which ruled Gabon for more than a century until 1960. Opposition leaders were barred from organizing public rallies in this campaign, a mandate that raised fraud concerns. That heightened tensions ahead of the vote, with increased security present in the capital.
Ping, 73, chaired the Commission of the African Union from 2008 to 2012. He was a minister for and confidant of Omar Bongo for many years, but began emerging as an opposition force in 2014.