* Deadly riots marred poll result announcement this month
* Opposition challenging president's re-election
* Court ruling on petition due by Friday
By Edward McAllister
LIBREVILLE, Sept 21 Government officials in
Gabon warned opposition leader Jean Ping on Wednesday that he
risked arrest if renewed unrest erupts when the Constitutional
Court rules on his challenge to last month's presidential
The government said six people died in riots that erupted
this month when results from the Aug. 27 poll handed victory to
incumbent President Ali Bongo by less than 6,000 votes,
extending his family's half-century grip on power.
Ping said as many as 100 people were killed in the violence
and filed a request for a recount, alleging fraud in one of
"Mr. Ping said clearly that if the constitutional court did
not declare him winner that there will be disorder. If he
crosses the line, he will be arrested," government spokesman
Alain-Claude Bilie By Nze told a news conference.
The Constitutional Court has until Friday to decide on his
complaint, but the authorities are already stepping up security
in the capital Libreville, the epicentre of the violence.
Soldiers and police were visible on the city's streets on
Wednesday, taking up positions at major crossroads.
"Today we hear of more calls for disorder by certain
compatriots. We know who they are. We know where they are. We
are not going to let them agitate," Interior Minister Pacome
Moubelet Boubeya said at the same news conference.
Ping's petition alleges irregularities in Haut-Ogooue
province where Bongo won 95 percent on turnout of 99.9 percent.
A European Union observer mission also noted anomalies in
the province's results. Former colonial ruler France recommended
a recount and the African Union pledged to send observers to
monitor the work of the Constitutional Court.
Bongo's allies submitted evidence to the court rejecting
Ping's allegations and countering that the opposition leader - a
former chairman of the African Union commission - had himself
Ping is a lifelong insider to Gabonese politics. He was a
close ally of Omar Bongo and has two children with the late
president's daughter, Pascaline.
During more than four decades in power, Omar Bongo
cultivated close relations with a succession of French
presidents. However, Ali Bongo's ties to Paris have been more
Two Franco-Gabonese dual citizens arrested during this
month's violence filed complaints in a court in Paris on
Wednesday, alleging arbitrary detention, torture, attempted
murder and crimes against humanity by persons unknown.
(Additional reporting by Gerauds Wilfried Obangome and Emma
Farge in Dakar; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Louise