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Botswana issues arrest warrant for former president Khama

In this Oct. 28 2014 photo, Ian Khama attends a swearing-in ceremony for a second and final term as Botswana's president at the National Assembly buildings in Gaborone.   -  
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An arrest warrant was issued in Botswana for former president Ian Khama for the possession of illegal firearms, on Thursday (Dec. 29).

The judge issued orders that Mr Khama should be arrested on sight.

The former leader is believed to be in South Africa, where he went into a self-imposed exhile in November 2021. Mr Khama left office in 2018 after two five-year terms.

The arrest warrant follows Khama's failure to appear in court earlier this year. He faced 14 charges including allegations of money laundering and handling stolen property.

The warrant issued only regards the possession of five illegal firearms.

Under Botswana law, illegal possession of guns could lead to a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

In the past, Ian Khama, the son of Botswana's first President, told local media house Mmegi that he would welcome an extradition request since it would give him the chance to expose what he called "lies and fabrications" by current president Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Khama had respected the ruling Botswana Peoples Party, BDP, tradition of handing over power to his successor Masisi a year to the 2019 general elections.

He however, clashed with Masisi months after stepping down over certain policy positions, and ultimately backed opposition candidates in the national elections.

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