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Congolese opposition leader prevented from travelling abroad

Paulin Makaya has twice been prevented from travelling abroad since he was released from prison in September.

Congolese opposition leader Paulin Makaya, recently released from prison after three years, has again been prevented from leaving Brazzaville, his family said.

Border police stopped Makaya from boarding an Air France flight to Paris on Friday evening, his son Russel Makaya told AFP. He had been due to fly from the French capital to London.

"He turned up on Friday a little before 7:00pm (18:00 GMT) with his British passport. The border police turned him back immediately on the pretext that he is banned from leaving the country," he said.

Makaya was also stopped from travelling on September 28, officially because he did not have a permit to leave the country.

But this time, his son said, he had the necessary papers and a letter from the British embassy calling on the authorities in the Republic of Congo to provide him with assistance to make the trip.

A border police spokesman, who asked not to be named, said if Paulin Makaya had not been authorised to travel, it was because his papers were not in order.

Makaya was released from prison on September 17.

A close associate of former Congolese premier Bernard Kolelas, Makaya was jailed after organising a banned demonstration against the constitutional referendum that allowed President Sassou Nguesso to seek another term in March 2016.

Nguesso has run the Republic of Congo, a small, oil-rich country in central Africa, for more than 34 years.

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