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COTONOU: Benin said yesterday that authorities have thwarted an attempt to oust President Thomas Boni Yayi and install a military regime in the west African nation.
In a statement read to journalists, state prosecutor Justin Gbenameto said a colonel and businessman were arrested for plotting “to block the head of state from returning to Cotonou after his trip and to institute a military regime.”
Yayi, who recently completed a one-year term as chairman of the African Union, had travelled to Equatorial Guinea last month for a summit with South American leaders.
Gbenameto said Colonel Pamphile Zomahoun and prominent accountant and businessman Johannes Dagnon were in custody and investigations were continuing.
Alleged plots against the government are not new for Benin.
Patrice Talon, a businessman and former close associate of Yayi, was accused last year of masterminding a plot to replace the president’s heart medication with poison.
Yayi’s niece and personal doctor were accused of being key accomplices, and the president’s bodyguard was also detained.
A friend of Talon’s, Olivier Bocco, is also subject to an international arrest warrant issued by Benin. Opposition groups and Talon’s lawyers have dismissed the allegations as an attempt by Yayi to sideline a former ally turned rival.
Speaking to journalists yesterday, state prosecutor Gbenameto said he was informed on February 22 by the security services about an attempted attack against
the state. AFP