Friday, October 30, 2009

Former Central African Republic Leader Returns From Exile

Ex-Central African Republic president returns from exile: aide

Fri Oct 30, 4:42 PM

BANGUI (AFP) - The former president of the Central African Republic, Ange-Felix Patasse, returned home Friday after more than six years in exile, a close aide told AFP.

Patasse was president from 1999 until March 2003, when he was deposed by Francois Bozize, who is still in power, and since then has been living in exile in Togo.

He plans to stand in 2010 presidential elections.

A close aide to the former president, Sosthene Nguetel, said the homecoming had taken place without incident. Patasse, however, did not speak to the press, and was moved from the airport to a secret location.

Security was tight around Bangui airport, with the press kept away by a large deployment of police and soldiers.

Bozize's government has said that it would not oppose the return to the country of its former leader, and the two politicians are expected to meet in the coming days, Patasse's aides said.

Patasse had urged his supporters inside the country to stage a peaceful reception for him and to respect law and order.

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