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Protesters Burn down Parliament in Gabon

Demonstrators set ablaze Gabon’s National Assembly building on Wednesday afternoon and several civilians were killed as supporters of opposition leader Jean Ping clashed with security forces in the streets of Libreville, hours after President Ali Bongo’s disputed re-election was confirmed by the nation’s electoral body.

Police and soldiers had been stationed along most roads and petrol stations in the capital in anticipation of the violence as tension mounted, days after Ping declared himself winner before CENAP gave the official tally, Eyewitness News reported.gabon parliament on fire

Earlier on Wednesday, Ping took to social media to declare that the Republican Guard had launched aerial and ground attacks on his party’s offices in the capital.

The elite force provides security for the president.

“Mon quartier general de campagne est pris a l’assaut a l’instant par la garde republicaine#Gabon (My election campaign headquarters are under attack from the Republican Guard),” read the statement on his Twitter page.

The government however denounced the claims saying that it was pursuing the criminals who had gathered at Ping’s party headquarters.

The government also shut down social media in the capital in the wake of the violence.

The results by the Autonomous and Permanent National Electoral Commission (CENAP) gave the incumbent Bongo a slim margin victory of 5,594 votes over Ping. The number of registered voters was 627,805.

The election was rocked by allegations of lack of transparency after CENAP failed to release a list of the valid polling stations and registered voters.

Ping, US and the European Union (EU) called on the elections results from all polling stations to be made public.

The international community, led by EU Electoral monitoring team and US had earlier lamented irregularities in the process, adding that only half of the valid voters had received their ballot cards a week before the election on Saturday.

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