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Republic of Congo releases US citizen held for over a year

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The United States Embassy in the Republic of Congo says a naturalized U.S. citizen who was detained in the country for more than a year has been released.

Marcel Pika is a retired colonel who served in the Republic of Congo’s military. He was arrested early last year and held for “inciting disorderly conduct” during the violence that followed President Denis Sassou N’Guesso’s re-election.

U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Jacqueline Mourot said Pika was freed Friday without further judgment. She said the U.S. was grateful to the government for his release.

The 70-year-old Pika was close to Gen. Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, who placed third in the 2016 presidential election.

The U.S. State Department requested Pika’s release in June, citing concerns over his diabetes and the conditions under which he was being held.

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