Oil firms operating in Gabon will be banned from flaring gas in 2010, the government said in a statement. Exports of unprocessed timber will also be banned next year in an effort to increase employment by making logging companies mill and add value to wood locally, according to a statement issued after a cabinet meeting late on Thursday.

Opposition parties in Gabon have rejected the terms of a re-count of votes from last month's controversial presidential poll. Activists, who alleged widespread vote rigging, were angered after a court ruled that opposition observers would not be allowed to oversee the re-count.

A coalition of candidates who lost to Gabonese president-elect Ali Ben Bongo in last month's election lodged a complaint with the country's top court, the politicians said on Thursday. The group, which includes veteran opposition leader Pierre Mamboundou and former Interior Minister Andre Mba Obame, both of whom scored just over 25 percent, accuse Ben Bongo of rigging the poll to succeed his father as president.

Gabon has barred opposition leaders from leaving the country following recent riots over claims of fraud in last month's presidential election. One defeated candidate said he had been prevented from flying to Ivory Coast. A minister said the ban would last while the violence was investigated.


Following the election of Ali Ben Bongo to the Gabonese presidency, Tidiane Kassé considers the reaction of commentators in the African press to the victory. With the death of his father and long-time dictator Omar Bongo in June, many regard Ali Ben Bongo's election as the mere continuation of the Bongo dynasty, Kassé notes, a continuation decidedly in the interests of the French former colonial power.