Mr Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray, the vocal leader of the Alliance Democratic Party (ADP), in Sierra Leone has been arrested.
The party of the opposition presidential hopeful has accused the government of intimidation and called for his immediate release.
It said the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) was behind the arrest its leader, who faces two charges of unlawful possession of firearms.
Mansaray was denied bail on Friday after being arraigned before a magistrate’s court in the eastern headquarters town of Kenema.
The police say he committed the alleged offence in the nearby Kailahun District, where his party participated in a by-election at the end of last month.
Mansaray, an outspoken politician, was arrested in Freetown and transported to Kenema, about a week after the elections.
ADP described the police’s action as politically motivated, saying it was sanctioned by the ruling party to silence a critical voice.
“We want the public to know that his arrest is nothing but a barbaric conspiracy planned by the ruling APC government and executed by the Sierra Leone police,” the party’s diaspora arm proclaimed in a statement.
Mr Mansaray formed ADP after falling out with APC and he has since transformed himself into a Julius Malema-style opposition.
ADP is most popular in the north, where much of its support is thought to be drawn from the APC base.
Mansaray’s supporters say that, coupled with his consistent attacks on the APC leadership, have made him a target of political intimidation.
ADP defended his carrying of a “stun gun” during the by-election, saying it was meant as protection after several reported failed attempts on his life by alleged APC militants.
Lately, Mr Mansaray has been leading a wave of condemnation against an alleged Chinese interference in the local politics after news that the Communist Party of China was funding the construction of a seven storied office building for the APC.
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