Gabon journalist flees after getting death threats

Guy-Pierre Bitéghé, the editor-in-chief and director of le Mbandja, a newspaper based in the capital Libreville in Gabon, has fled the country after getting numerous kidnapping and death threats.

He is currently living in an undisclosed location, where he has applied for political asylum, Gabon Review reported on Friday.

Gabon Review said Biteghe’s troubles began after he published a story in which a Presidential Guard officer made startling revelations about the post-electoral violence.

The officer said in that interview that 212 people were killed from the violence and not seven as claimed by the government.

On August 31, Gabon security forces shot dead dozens of people who were protesting against the results of the presidential elections that declared the incumbent president Ali Bongo the winner over the populist candidate Jean Ping.

Bitéghé was consequently summoned by the National Council of Communications (CNC) and reprimanded for publishing that ‘kind of story in the middle of a tense political climate’.

His newspaper has since been suspended and kidnapping and death threats continued unabated, forcing him to flee.  He said he still feared for the safety of his family and all the journalists left behind.

“Journalists in Gabon are not free as you can see for yourself,” he said.

Photo: Guy-Pierre Bitéghé, a Gabonese journalist how fled abroad after getting death threats. credit: GR

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