Gabon: Security forces must stop using excessive force amid post-election tension
"Security forces in Gabon must refrain from using excessive force against protesters in the wake of the country’s disputed election result," said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International’s West and Central Africa Director, amid reports that several anti-government demonstrators had been shot and injured on Wednesday afternoon.
"Such a brutal response violates protesters’ rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, as well as inflaming an already tense situation following the vote.
Such a brutal response violates protesters’ rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, as well as inflaming an already tense situation following the vote.
“The authorities must instead do everything in their power to allow for peaceful protest, in order to bring much-needed stability and security after the election period.”
“They must also independently, impartially and efficiently investigate any excessive use of force by security forces, and bring those responsible to justice.
The election result announced on Wednesday gave incumbent Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba 49.8 per cent of the vote against 48.23 per cent for his rival, Jean Ping.
Ping’s camp said the election was fraudulent and have challenged the results in one of the country’s nine provinces.
The announcement of the result sparked demonstrations in the capital Libreville, after which Ping’s headquarters were stormed by security forces.
The opposition said at least two people were killed and several were wounded in the attack. A government spokesman said the raid was launched to find “armed criminals” who had allegedly set fire to the country’s parliament earlier that day.