Benin Probes Gun Attack On Opposition Presidential Candidate

A Benin presidential candidate was wounded after shots were fired at his car soon after he filed his papers for the April presidential election.

Ganiou Soglo, a former minister and son of ex-president Nicephore Soglo, was wounded on Friday on the way to his farm in Zinvie, 35 kilometers from the West African country’s commercial capital Cotonou.

He was one of 19 politicians who have filed papers for the April 11 ballot, including the incumbent Patrice Talon.

In a communique, Soglo said he was focused on his recovery and medical treatment after surviving a vile attack, without giving details.

Many Benin opposition figures are either in exile or are barred from running in the election. That has prompted criticism that the former French colony, once seen as a model of democracy, has veered into authoritarianism under Talon.

Critics accuse Talon of leading a country once praised for multi-party democracy down an authoritarian road and say he is behind a crackdown that drove key rivals into exile.

During parliamentary elections in April 2019, no opposition parties were allowed to present lists of candidates for the vote.

Some opposition leaders have formed a coalition backing little-known academic Joel Aivo as a single candidate against the incumbent.

When Talon, a cotton baron, was first elected in 2016 on a modernizing platform and a vow to stamp out corruption and mismanagement, he said he intended to serve only one term.

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