Monday, April 4, 2016 10:47 am
A riot has broken out in Congo Brazzaville following President Denis Sassou Nguesso claim that he won re-election for another term, two weeks ago.
Agency reports said opposition supporters, chanting “Sassou, leave!”, erected barricades near the main roundabout in southern Brazzaville’s Makelekele neighbourhood and set fire to the local mayor’s office and police headquarters.
Police also exchanged heavy fire with unidentified gunmen, according to witnesses. A military barrack was reportedly attacked by militiamen.
It was the first flare of violence since last week’s election, when Nguesso even shut down the phone network and the internet to ensure the polls went as planned.
Tweets from Brazzaville indicated a warlike scenario in the southern area of the city with heavy shootings being heard.
Helicopters circled the city and troops also deployed to ensure peace.
Sassou Nguesso came to power in 1979 and governed until 1992, when he lost an election. In 1997, he regained power after a civil war and then won elections in 2002 and 2009 at which there were allegations of fraud.
He claimed to have won by 63.9 per cent a disputed election, extending his rule for another five years.
Interior Minister Raymond Zephyrin Mboulou announced the result on state television and said opposition leader Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas, who is popular in the south of the capital Brazzaville, won 15 percent while retired general Jean-Marie Mokoko won 14 percent.
Opposition candidates alleged election fraud and said that their own results showed Sassou Nguesso lost.
The government has imposed a blackout on internet and mobile phone communications since Sunday, and it also banned the use of motor vehicles nationwide during the vote itself.