Hundreds flee clashes in Gabon

Citizens leave Port Gentil by canoe after three days of fighting over election.

    Total, the French oil company, has evacuated
    its staff from Port Gentil [AFP]

    "The president and the prime minister do not want to put Port Gentil under a state of siege. We are not yet at that level," Ndongou said.

    "But if peace, order and harmony are not restored, we are going to solicit authorisation to do so from parliament."

    Employees evacuated

    Port Gentil is already under a dusk-to-dawn curfew, but a state of emergency can be called only after cabinet and parliamentary discussion.

    A club run by Total, the French oil company, and the French consulate in Port Gentil were torched.

    French paratroopers are guarding the consulate and Total has evacuated its staff to Libreville, the capital.

    Some opposition supporters believe that France helped Bongo, 50, to fix the election, allegations that both Paris and Bongo have denied.

    Ndongou said that none of the deaths were caused by the military and that the government would accept an international investigation into the clashes.

    Legal challenge

    In Libreville, the capital, where tensions had abated, Bongo, the son of the late leader Omar Bongo, made his first appearance since the election.

    He appealed for calm and urged his rivals to take their allegations of fraud in the August 30 poll to court.

    Opposition leaders have said that they will legally contest the election results.

    Bongo received 41.7 per cent of the vote compared to about 25 per cent each for his closest rivals Andre Mba Obame, the former interior minister, and Pierre Mamboundou, a veteran opposition leader.

    Omar Bongo died in June after 41 years of rule.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.