FRENCH giant Total and US oil services player Schlumbergerâ€™s facilities in Gabon were reportedly targeted in a riot sparked by the announcement of the results of the countryâ€™s presidential election.
Gabonese authorities imposed a curfew on the country’s oil hub Port Gentil late on Thursday to counter the violence, according to a Reuters report.
“The Cabinet meeting asks instantly for a reinforcement of security measures across Gabonese territory,” government spokesman Rene Ndemezoo Obiang said on national television.
Opposition supporters clashed with security forces in the capital Libreville after ruling party candidate, Ali Ben Bongo, son of late President Omar Bongo, was declared winner of the poll with 47.1% of the vote, though the streets were deserted later in the day, Reuters reported.
Ex-interior minister Andre Mba Obame received 25.9% of votes cast, and veteran opposition figure Pierre Mamboundou 25.2%.
Both had declared victory before the results were known and immediately rejected the outcome, but French Secretary of State for Cooperation Alain Joyandet said election observers had seen only minor irregularities.
“Observers who have given us their accounts have all said the election took place in acceptable conditions,” he told RTL radio. “If the losing candidates want to contest the result, they should do so in the constitutional court,” he said. Ben Bongo’s rivals have accused him of rigging the result to impose what they call a Bongo “monarchy” on the central African country.
Nearly 42 years of Omar Bongo’s rule brought stability and prosperity to a volatile part of the continent, but not without accusations Bongo used petrodollars to enrich himself at the expense of the Gabonese people.
Gabon is sub-Saharan Africa’s fourth biggest oil producer, although most of its 1.4 million people live in poverty.