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UN chief calls for release of Gabon detainees

02 September 2016, 09:31

United Nations - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for the immediate release of political detainees arrested in post-election violence in Gabon.

Ban said security forces had resorted to disproportionate force and called on them to "exercise the utmost restraint and uphold international standards of human rights."

Police arrested 1 000 people during riots and looting that erupted when President Ali Bongo was declared the winner of the disputed polls.

"I urge the authorities to release political detainees immediately and unconditionally," Ban said in a statement from his spokesman.

Ban said he was "deeply concerned and saddened" by the crisis in Gabon "in particular the arson attacks and disproportionate response of security agencies that has led to unfortunate loss of life and property."

The UN chief called on the government to immediately restore communications, especially the internet, SMS and independent radio and television.

Bongo won victory with 49.8% of the vote, while challenger Jean Ping picked up 48.23%, resulting in a gap of fewer than 6 000 votes, according to provisional results.

The United Nations supports calls for a verification of the election results, he added.

"The Gabonese people deserve a credible electoral process," said Ban.



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