Republic of Congo Issues Final Election Results as Clashes Erupt in CapitalApril 5, 2016 in Republic of Congo
On Monday, 4 April, the Republic of Congo’s Constitutional Court published final election results, showing that President Denis Sassou N’Guesso, who has been in power for more than thirty years, has won re-election.
Results given by the head of the court, Auguste Iloki, indicate that Sassou N’Guesso won 60 percent of the 20 March election, trailed by challenger Guy Brice Parfait Kolelas with 15 percent and Jean Marie Michel Mokoko with nearly 14 percent. The court further disclosed that about 69 percent of the more than 2 million eligible voters participated in the election. Iloki has ruled against motions by the opposition contesting the election.
The announcement of the final election results came as gunbattles erupted in the capital Brazzaville on Monday, effectively shattering a relative calm that had followed last month’s disputed vote. According to government spokesman Thierry Moungalla, former members of the “Ninja” militia that fought Sassou Nguesso in a 1997 civil war raided and set alight military, police and local government offices. The gunfire, which broke out at 3 AM local time (0200 GMT) in the opposition strongholds of Makelekele and Bacongo, lasted until 6 AM. It resumed around 8 AM and intensified late in the morning as military helicopters patrolled southern Brazzaville. The attacks have since been contained. According to witnesses, gunfire had died down by mid-afternoon as security forces blocked access to southern Brazzaville, where exchanges of heavy calibre fire between police and unidentified fighters broke out. Dozens of heavily-armed Republican Guard troops and police later headed towards the Kingouari neighbourhood of southern Brazzaville, where isolated gunfire persisted in the afternoon, while some residents took refuge in Catholic churches.
While the government has not indicated whether anyone was killed in the fighting, the clashes resulted in thousands of residents streaming north, with many carrying their possessions on their heads. Some residents of southern Brazzaville who had taken shelter in churches in the central and northern areas of the city on Monday have disclosed that they feared a resurgence of fighting after the government case suspicion on the losing candidates in the election.