Gabon opposition figure held after threats to Bongo

2017-06-28 15:01
Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba. (File: AFP)

Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba. (File: AFP)

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Libreville - A Gabonese opposition figure who earlier this month threatened violence if President Ali Bongo failed to resign has been placed in preventive custody, the state prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Roland Desire Aba'a Minko "was placed in preventive detention ... Tuesday night after being charged with threatening state security, inciting rebellion and circulating fake news to undermine public order", prosecutor Steeve Ndong Essame Ndong told AFP.

Aba'a Minko had earlier this month issued an ultimatum to Bongo to step down before the arrival of an International Criminal Court team, which wound up its work on June 22.

During a public speech in Libreville on June 16, Aba'a Minko told Bongo to quit within 72 hours, threatening to set off explosives that had been laid in "all administrative and ministerial buildings".

Simultaneously, masked men carrying knives claiming to represent him stormed several media outlets, demanding they broadcast an audio and video message urging Gabonese citizens to revolt.

Security 

Aba'a Minko is a supporter of opposition leader Jean Ping, who was narrowly defeated by Bongo in presidential elections last year.

The ICC team was in the oil-rich nation to investigate claims of post-election violence by Ping and 15 non-governmental organisations.

Ping's camp distanced itself from Aba'a Minko's actions, deploring the "confusion" they caused.

Around the same time, there was a "security incident" at the European Union's offices in the city after an individual gained access and issued threats, though he was quickly detained by police, the delegation said.

According to the state prosecutor, Aba'a Minko said he had staged the actions to frighten people and was ready to "face the consequences".

Bongo's re-election last August by just a few thousand votes led Ping to accuse the administration of electoral fraud.

Violence broke out days after the election, and opposition figures say more than 50 people were killed in clashes. The official toll was only three dead.

Read more on:    ali bongo  |  gabon  |  west africa

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