Political violence is increasing in frequency in Gabon, especially in the capital Libreville. Several homes belonging to members of the political opposition have reportedly been attacked with Molotov cocktails in the past few weeks. On June 25, a gang reportedly entered the residence of opposition figure Michel Menga and set fire to his car. Another gang has reportedly burned the cars of a former government minister, Paul Malékou. Furthermore, opposition politician (and former presidential candidate) Roland Désiré Aba'a Minko was arrested in Libreville on June 16, several hours after armed supporters stormed local television stations and broadcast a message from Minko issuing an ultimatum for President Ali Bongo Ondimba to step down within 72 hours.
This violence coincides with increasing tensions among the Gabonese diaspora in the United States and in France. President Ali Bongo and his entourage were the victims of acts of harassment during travel in Europe and the US in the past weeks. Many members of the Gabonese diaspora still do not accept the re-election of Ali Bongo as legitimate and have vowed to “humiliate” him. Both the government and the opposition blame each other for high political tensions and the prevailing violent national climate. Tensions will likely remain high in the coming weeks and further violence cannot be ruled out.
Widespread unrest followed the August 2016 presidential elections, which saw Ali Bongo reelected by a narrow margin amid allegations of a rigged vote. Although the security situation has since largely stabilized, tensions remain high.
All those present in Gabon are advised to closely monitor developments to the situation and avoid all public gatherings due to the risk of violence, which can flare up with little warning.