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Pierre Mamboundou of Gabon dies at 65

LIBREVILLE, Gabon -- Gabon's president says an opposition leader and former presidential candidate has died. Pierre Mamboundou was 65.

In a statement read Monday on state radio, President Ali Bongo called Mamboundou "a patriot." The statement read by the president's spokesman said the death represents "a huge loss for Gabon."

Party official Thomas Ibinga said that according to Mamboundou's family he died of a heart attack. He ran several times for the presidency of the coastal African nation, most recently placing second in 2009. He repeatedly alleged vote-rigging in the contests.

Mamboundou was the vanguard of the opposition for 20 years. He was once exiled to Senegal after longtime ruler Omar Bongo, who was the current president's father and who held power for more than 41 years, accused him of plotting a coup. -- AP

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