The leader of Benin’s largest opposition party and first female presidential candidate has been arrested and is accused of planning to assassinate several political figures.
Reckya Madougou’s candidacy for the presidential election on April 11 was rejected by the electoral commission for failing to garner signatures of support from 16 mayors or MPs.
Many opposition figures are already in exile or barred from office in Benin, a West African state which critics say has veered into authoritarianism under President Patrice Talon.
She was arrested on Wednesday in Porto-Novo in the presence of Joël Aivo, another opposition candidate, who escaped at the time of the arrest.
A total of 20 would-be candidates officially handed in their documents to run for the presidency, but the electoral commission said only the three chosen had met the requirements.
Talon, a cotton magnate, who was elected into office in 2016 said at the time he wanted to serve a single term only, before changing his mind and announcing his candidacy in mid-January for the April vote.
He will face former minister Alassane Soumano and Corentin Kohoue, a dissident opposition figure.