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Congo police halts opposition press conference on Mokoko's arrest

Congo police halts opposition press conference on Mokoko's arrest

Republic of the Congo

Police of the Republic of Congo on Friday stopped a coalition of opposition groups from holding a press conference in Brazzaville to condemn the incarceration of opposition leader and candidate during the March 20 presidential elections, General Mokoko.

The coordinator of the opposition coalition, IDC-Frocad (Initiative for Democracy in Congo – Republic – Front to respect the constitutional order and democratic alternation), Charles Zacharie Bowao said the conference was stopped even before it started at the party headquarters.

“While the meeting had not even started, a lieutenant of the police came to ask us to leave,” he told AFP adding that the conference was to “denounce the arrest of General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko which is a tragic act.”

While the meeting had not even started, a lieutenant of the police came to ask us to leave.

Several witnesses told AFP that the party headquarters which was to hold the press conference was surrounded by police.

General Mokoko was charged and convicted on Thursday for undermining state security and illegal possession of weapons and ammunition.

He came third with nearly 14% of the vote on March 20 and together with four other presidential candidates rejected the official results. General Mokoko then called for a “widespread civil disobedience” urging the people to claim their voting rights.

The authorities took him in for questioning describing the remarks as a call for “armed insurrection”. He has been under house arrest since the election till his subsequent imprisonment.

According to the official results, outgoing president Denis Sassou Nguesso won the elections in the first round with over 60% of the vote.

As a former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, General Mokoko resigned in early February from his African Union functions and adviser of Sassou Nguesso to announce his candidacy.

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