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3 held for 'trying to poison Benin leader'

23 October 2012, 16:51

Cotonou - Benin authorities have arrested President Thomas Boni Yayi's doctor, his niece and an ex-minister over an alleged plot to poison the leader, the public prosecutor said on Monday.

Justin Gbenameto told journalists that prosecutors "have requested their indictment for criminal conspiracy and attempted assassination of the head of state", who is also the chairperson of the African Union.

Those arrested on Sunday included Moudjaidou Soumanou, former minister of commerce, Yayi's personal doctor Ibrahim Mama Cisse, and Zouberath Kora-Seke, one of Yayi's nieces who worked at the presidency.

"Thankfully, the plot was not successful," said Gbenameto. "Zouberath spoke about it with her sister and others, and it was those people who warned the head of state."

The 60-year-old Yayi is an economist who first took office in 2006 and won re-election last year.

It was alleged that the president's niece and his doctor were promised one billion CFA francs ($2m) to replace Yayi's anti-pain medicine with poison.

According to prosecutors, the ex-minister played an intermediary role.

The instigator of the plot was alleged to be a Benin businessman named Patrice Talon, a former ally of the president's but who has recently been at odds with him.

Talon is currently out of the country and has not been detained, but Gbenameto told AFP Benin authorities intended to issue an arrest warrant for him.



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