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GABON

President’s party claims majority in elections

LIBREVILLE | President Ali Bongo’s Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) claimed Sunday to have won the absolute majority in general elections that were boycotted by many opposition groups and voters.

The party had won at least 73 of the 120 seats in parliament, and its final tally was expected go higher, said a PDG source close to the Interior Ministry.

Official results are expected “probably Thursday,” according to the electoral commission.

In all, 13 opposition groups urged supporters not to vote.

They wanted the government to implement biometric voter security measures, such as fingerprinting, as a way of preventing fraud.

Official turnout numbers were not available, but election officials in the northern town of Medouneu, an opposition bastion, said the participation rate at several polling stations hovered between 10 percent and 40 percent.

MALI

Algerian troops arrive to help combat al Qaeda

BAMAKO | Algerian troops have crossed into Mali to help government forces combat groups affiliated with al Qaeda, officials and witnesses told Agence France-Presse.

“Algerian troops are currently stationed in northern Mali to assist the Malian army in the fight against terrorism,” a high-ranking military official said.

He would not divulge the number of Algerian troops based in Mali or the expected length of their stay.

“We know there is a team of instructors of at least 15, including officers,” a diplomatic source said, also on the condition of anonymity.

Customs officials told Agence France-Presse that they saw a convoy carrying Algerian military between the northern towns of Kidal and Tessalit, near the Algerian border.

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