ICC to look into Gabon situation at government's request

LIBREVILLE, Gabon - The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court says she will conduct a preliminary investigation into the situation in Gabon, as requested by the government.

Thursday's announcement comes shortly after a disputed election gave incumbent President Ali Bongo Ondimba a narrow victory.

Deadly protests erupted after preliminary results were announced Aug. 31. The opposition blamed security forces for many deaths.

Bongo's supporters accused opposition candidate Jean Ping of trying to rig results. Ping has accused Bongo of fraud.

The ICC statement says it was asked to look into "the situation in Gabon since May 2016."

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda says she has to examine information regarding crimes allegedly committed by any groups or individuals before determining if a formal investigation is warranted.

Bongo was sworn in Tuesday for a second seven-year term.

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