Exiled Congo opposition figure shot in Paris suburb

Paris - An exiled Republic of Congo opposition figure was shot and badly injured by a gunman this week in a northwest Paris suburb, a judicial source said on Thursday.

Ferdinand Mbaou, a 59-year-old former colonel, was attacked by "an individual who shot him in the back near his home", said the chief prosecutor in Pontoise, Yves Jannier. The gunman escaped.

Mbaou headed presidential security under former head of state Pascal Lissouba, who was ousted in a 1997 coup by current President Denis Sassou Nguesso.

Sassou Nguesso has since been elected to two consecutive terms in office and is expected to bid for a third next year following a controversial referendum last month changing the constitution to enable him to extend his rule.

The referendum, in which a whopping 94.3% of voters backed the constitutional amendment, was slammed as "a masquerade" and "a constitutional coup" by the opposition, which had called for a boycott.

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