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Central African Republic President's rival flees after treason charges

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CHARLES BOUESSEL/AFP or licensors

Central African Republic

A former presidential candidate and opponent of Central African Republic President slipped out of the country despite a travel ban slapped on him by the authorities.

Abdoul Karim Meckassoua was removed recently as a member of the national assembly after being accused of belonging to a rebel group keen on ousting President Faustin Archange Touadera.

Meckassoua is thought to have fled the capital Bangui on Sunday night, crossing the Oubangi river into the Democratic Republic of Congo and later into Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo's capital.

He was accused of being a member of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), a rebel group Central African authorities say is supported by former President Francois Bozize.

Meckassoua was a candidate in the 2016 election which was won by Touadera. He has also served as the head of the country's national assembly and a minister.

The constitutional court ordered Meckassoua's impeachment as a member of parliament after accusations of treason.

He's also being charged with complicity in armed robbery, criminal conspiracy, and threatening state security.

Meckassoua had been banned from leaving the country by the authorities as part of a probe into his links with the rebel group.

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