A leading opposition candidate in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Moise Katumbi, for president says he was poisoned as part of a government plot to kill him, the AP news agency reports.

Moise Katumbi told AP that police injected him with an unknown substance during a demonstration in May outside a courthouse in Lubumbashi.

He had been summoned to court on allegations he hired mercenaries to be his bodyguards, allegations he calls a  “big joke.”

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Police fired tear gas outside the venue, and Mr Katumbi fell ill. He was medically evacuated to South Africa and has since sought treatment in London and Germany.

DR Congo’s communications minister Lambert Mende was unavailable for comment but has previously dismissed allegations that police harmed Mr Katumbi,  AP reports.