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Runner-up in disputed Congo poll 'accepts' Sassou Nguesso win

By AFP

Added 7th April 2016 06:55 AM

On Monday, heavy fighting erupted in southern Brazzaville districts loyal to the opposition ahead of the court's confirmation of the election results.

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Interim President of the Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development (MCDDI) and Presidential candidate Guy Brice Parfait Kolelas addressing his supporters in Brazzaville. AFP PHOTO

On Monday, heavy fighting erupted in southern Brazzaville districts loyal to the opposition ahead of the court's confirmation of the election results.

BRAZZAVILLE - The runner-up in Republic of Congo's election on Wednesday called on his supporters to accept the official results of the violence-tainted poll that returned longtime president Denis Sassou Nguesso to power.

Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas said he did not wish to stir up controversy by challenging Monday's Constitutional Court's finding that Sassou Nguesso, Congo's ruler of 32 years, won the March 20 election with over 60 percent of the vote.

"I accept the Constitutional Court's verdict, however questionable," Kolelas told reporters in the capital Brazzaville.

"I nonetheless invite President Sassou Nguesso, the declared winner, to be humble in victory because this election has been marred by all sorts of irregularities," Kolelas said, calling on the president to work to heal the divisions wrought by the vote.

On Monday, heavy fighting erupted in southern Brazzaville districts loyal to the opposition ahead of the court's confirmation of the election results.

The government accused former members of the disbanded Ninja Nsiloulou militia of a "terrorist attack" targeting several public buildings and said 17 people had been killed, including three security force members.

Kolelas, who was credited with 15 percent of the vote, rejected the government's claim that former militia members were responsible for the violence, accusing the authorities of a set-up aimed at quelling protests.

He was among five presidential challengers who had claimed electoral fraud when the provisional poll results were announced last month and had called for peaceful protests.

Congo has been on edge since an October constitutional referendum ended a two-term limit on presidential mandates, allowing the 72-year-old head of state to run again.

Sassou Nguesso, a former paratrooper, served as president from 1979 to 1992, returning to power in 1997 following a civil war.

He won two successive terms in elections in 2002 and 2009, both of which were disputed by opposition parties.

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