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ELECTIONS: Lawyer of Gabon’s Ping reported missing

Gabonese opposition leader Jean Ping gives a press conference at his residence in Libreville on September 2, 2016.  Two people died early on September 2 following overnight clashes in Gabon, witnesses said, raising to five the number killed in violence that erupted after President Ali Bongo was declared victor of a disputed election. In the 48 hours since the results were announced huge crowds of angry supporters, some of whom torched the parliament, have taken to the streets. Bongo's government launched a fierce crackdown, with security forces arresting around a thousand people. / AFP PHOTO / STEVE JORDAN
Gabonese opposition leader Jean Ping gives a press conference at his residence in Libreville on September 2, 2016.

Libreville, Gabon | AFP | 

A lawyer for the Gabon opposition leader Jean Ping, who is still disputing the re-election of President Ali Bongo, has been missing for three days, according to Ping’s team.

Eric Iga Iga, one of two lawyers who represented Ping in Constitutional Court in September when he sought to challenge Bongo’s victory, vanished without explanation on Thursday, Iga Iga’s associates said.

“He told me on the phone that a suspicious car was waiting at his house and he was trying to find out more,” John Nambo, Ping’s chief of staff, told AFP.

Iga Iga’s wife reported that men had searched the family home in the presence of the couple’s children, Nambo added.

Jean-Remy Bantsantsa, the other lawyer who represented Ping, said of the disappearance: “We have been round to all the police stations and the gendarmerie posts.”

The Constitutional Court in September upheld Bongo’s victory, but Ping nevertheless declared himself “president-elect” when he returned to Gabon after spending time in Paris, Brussels and Washington in the aftermath of the election.

International powers have largely recognised the result while calling for political dialogue in Gabon.

On Monday, a European Union election observer mission is due to present its report on the August 27 presidential election.

At least three people were killed in post-electoral violence, according to the government, while the opposition says at least 26 died and several others are still missing.

Ping, a former top official at the African Union, has said the final report of the EU’s observer mission would “reveal the truth of the deception”.

An initial report by the EU observers noted “evident anomalies” in the results, notably in Bongo’s stronghold of Haut-Ogooue.

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