Congolese presidential candidate released after questioning

Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, who is running against Denis Sassou Nguesso in presidential elections in March, released after short questioning, Mokoko’s lawyer says

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, former Congolese army chief running against incumbent president Denis Sassou Nguesso in election in March, pictured in 2014.

Authorities in the Republic of Congo’s local have relased Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, who is planning to run in the country's next presidential election in March against current president Denis Sassou Nguesso, Mokoko’s lawyer said in a statement.

"He was questioned... in relation to a police investigation for six hours Monday," his lawyer Eric Yvon Ibouanga said.

Ibounga added that he could not disclose the details of the investigation.

The Republic of Congo is set to hold early presidential elections on March 20, after a change to the country's constitution removed term limit for President Sassaou Nguesso who is expected to seek a third consecutive term in 2016's elections after 31 years of rule.

According to the new constitutional law presidential candidates will be allowed to be under 70-years-old and presidents will be able to serve more than two terms.

Public prosecutor Andre Oko Ngakala ordered Michel Mokoko’s detention on Friday.

A video emerged and began to circulate on social media after Feb 13, when Mokoko held his first campaign rally, which appeared to implicate him in an attempted.

The video, taken sometime in the early 2000s, has been denounced as a fake by Mokoko's campaign.

Mokoko was the Republic of Congo's military chief from 1987 to 1993 as a military chief and is currently special representative of the African Union Commission in the neighbouring Central African Republic.

Mokoko has been a long time ally and friend of President Sassou Nguesso but on Feb. 3 he announced his resignation as the president's advisor on peace and security before on Feb. 8 announcing plans to run in the next presidential election due to take place on March 20.