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Gabon

Rumours of abducted children lead to killing of 3 people in Gabon

Students of Nelson Mandela Lycée in Gabon's capital, Libreville, on 3 February 2020.
Students of Nelson Mandela Lycée in Gabon's capital, Libreville, on 3 February 2020. (RFI/Yves-Laurent Ngoma)

Three people have been attacked and killed in Gabon following unfounded rumours that school children were being abducted on their way to school.

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Kindergarten, primary and secondary schools in Gabon resumed classes today after being closed for a week following unfounded rumours of abductions. This, amid calls for schools to reopen by the Parents-Teachers Federation and the Teachers' trade union.

The fake news spread over the last two weeks after one unrelated abduction case was reported, involving a 3-year-old in the northern city of Bitam, near the border with Cameroon. Police suspect the abduction was due to a family feud.

Three people died in the capital Libreville as a result of fake news spreading rapidly over social media. Two alleged abductors died by an angry mob - one victim was burnt in his car, while the other was beaten to death. A third person died during protests and subsequent riots against the police.

The government vowed to reinforce security across Gabon and to increase patrols on the routes taken by school children. The authorities also promised to set up a security force for schools.

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