Equatorial Guinea's President Obiang wins re-election

Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo inspects a guard of honour upon his arrival at the presidential airport in Abuja, Nigeria May 28, 2015. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

DAKAR (Reuters) - Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema has won re-election, securing 93.7 percent of votes cast in an April 24 poll to extend his 37-year rule over the Central African oil producer, a government statement said on Thursday.

Obiang, Africa’s longest-serving leader, has ruled the former Spanish colony since 1979 when he staged a bloody military coup and ousted his uncle, who was later executed.

Obiang’s closest challenger in the polls was Avelino Mocache Benga, who won just 1.5 percent of the vote, according to complete provisional results. Turnout was 92.9 percent, the statement from Equatorial Guinea’s Office of Information and Press said.

With territory divided between the African mainland and islands in the Gulf of Guinea, Equatorial Guinea boasts the highest GDP per capita in Africa thanks to its extensive oil and gas reserves.

However, it ranks 144 out of 187 states listed on the United Nations’ 2014 Human Development Index.

Critics say oil money is funneled to a rich elite while much of the country lives in poverty. A 2004 U.S. Senate probe showed millions of dollars channeled by Obiang and his relatives into the disgraced Riggs Bank.

Reporting by Makini Brice; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Andrew Roche