PARIS: Former colonial power France said Thursday (Sep 1) it was “extremely concerned” about post-election violence in Gabon and urged all sides to exercise “maximum restraint.”
“There is no place for violence in an electoral process,” said Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault in a statement, after reports of deadly clashes following the re-election of President Ali Bongo in disputed polls.
“Contesting the presidential election results must be done by legal means, as part of a transparent and impartial process.
“It is in this way that the integrity of the polls can be established beyond doubt”, Ayrault said.
Gabon’s opposition leader said security forces killed two people and injured 19 more at his headquarters early Thursday, as violence erupted after President Ali Bongo was declared the winner of the contested polls.
Thousands of angry protesters took to the streets of Libreville accusing the government of stealing the election after Bongo won a second term by a razor-thin margin over rival Jean Ping.
“The events during the night in Libreville have made me extremely concerned,” said Ayrault, who called on “all sides to exercise maximum restraint, in order to avoid more victims.”