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Benin's ex-president Boni Yayi to head AU mission in Equatorial Guinea

Benin's ex-president Boni Yayi to head AU mission in Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea

Benin’s ex-president Boni Yayi has been appointed by the African Union to head It’s electoral observer mission in Equatorial Guinea.

The Central African nation is scheduled to hold its presidential elections on April 24th.

A statement released by the AU said Yayi had been chosen to lead the team due to his contribution in the consolidation of democracy.

Yayi relinquished his post as Benin’s Head of State after two terms and supervised a peaceful transition in his country.

Long serving Equatorial Guinea president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, will seek to extend his 36 years in office and faces six other candidates.

Obiang’s regime has regularly come under fire from rights groups for violent suppression of opposition as well as for rampant corruption.

He is almost certain to win the upcoming election, having been re-elected in 2009 with 95.37 percent of the vote.

Campaigning will start in the central African nation on April 8, concluding April 22, according to the decree.

The presidential election was originally scheduled for November and no reason was given for the delay.

Obiang had declared his candidacy for another seven year term in November at a meeting of his ruling Democratic Party.

He will face off against Gabriel Nse Obiang, considered to be the incumbent president’s main rival, recently announcing his candidacy for the opposition CI party.

Nse Obiang’s national campaign tour was suspended Tuesday “until further notice” and five of his supporters were arrested after they were accused of assaulting a security officer at a public meeting two days earlier.

President Obiang came to power in a coup in 1979, overthrowing the bloody rule of his uncle, Macias Nguema.

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