Gabon opposition TV station reports attack

On September 5, 2012, the studios of TV+, a private television station in the capital, Libreville, owned by André Mba Obame, the country’s main opposition leader, were attacked by six unknown assailants, Agence France-Presse quoted Editor-in-Chief Ismaël Obiang Nze as saying. In the attack around 3 a.m. local time, a security guard was hit on the head with a hammer, stabbed in the back, and tied up, but his injuries were not critical, Nze said.

Frank Nguema, TV+ managing director, told CPJ the assailants broke the TV station’s gate but were unable to get past the steel security door into the station’s offices. Nguema said the attackers, who fled following the arrival of more security guards, proceeded to another building where TV+ transmitters are located, but retreated upon seeing 20 guards on alert there. The station was considering filing a formal complaint with Gabon authorities, he said.

On August 16, 2012, unidentified gunmen stormed TV+ and burned down its transmitters, according to local journalists and news reports.

Blaise Louembe, Gabon’s information minister, told CPJ that attacks on TV+ are staged by the opposition to discredit the government. Citing a YouTube video of protests held on August 15, 2012, where opposition supporters are seen pursuing policemen, Louembe said that it is improbable that anyone other than the opposition could attack TV+, which is located in an opposition stronghold. In a communiqué received by CPJ, Jean Francois Ndongou, Gabon’s interior minister, pledged an investigation.