Distel Amoussou, managing editor of Panorama, a daily newspaper was in the afternoon of arrested by the intelligence service attached to the Presidency of the Republic of Benin, for allegedly publishing “false information” that could destabilize the country. He was held in custody by the Economic Crime Squad and released the next day.
Amoussou had in the February 6 edition of the Panorama published an article headlined “Aborted coup d’etat in the Palace” which indicated that, some supporters of the President of the Republic of Benin had seized the opportunity of the President’s participation in the inauguration of the Burkinabe President Blaise Compaoré, to stage a coup d’état. Amoussou stated that President Kerekou would be put under house arrest, the constitution and institutions of the Republic would be dissolved and a referendum would be organised to bring the President back after the coup d’etat.
The coup would, in effect, ensure that President Kerekou is maintained in power. The newspaper added that President Kerekou who did not take kindly to the conduct of the perpetrators when he returned from Ouagadougou secretly arrested them to prevent mayhem in the country.Following the publication, the police started hunting for Amoussou who had left Benin and had entrusted the case to his lawyer. However, the police arrested and detained the Director General of Panorama, Michel Ahonon, from 0900 hours to 1400 hours. Amoussou returned on February 16. He was charged on three counts of high treason, insulting the Head of State and publishing false news. He was released the following day but was told to prepare for a subpoena.