Ex-spy shot dead in Alps, months after being accused of role in Congo assassination plot

A former French intelligence agent linked to a plan to assassinate a prominent opponent of the regime in Congo was found dead in the Alps, his body pierced with bullets.

Daniel Forestier, 57, was discovered last Thursday in a remote car park in Ballaison, France. He was reportedly shot five times, including in the head and heart. Police called it a professional job.

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His death came six months after he was charged with plotting to kill an opponent of President Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo, the London Times reported. He had also been charged with possession of explosives.

Forestier worked for 14 years in the General Directorate of External Security (DGSE), France’s spy agency, where he took part in sensitive operations.

The spy's legal troubles began after internal security service officers allegedly overheard him talking about a conspiracy to murder General Ferdinand Mbaou, the former head of Congo's presidential guard, at his home in Paris. Mbaou is a vocal critic of the regime in Congo, where Nguesso has been president since 1997, and previously held that office from 1979 to 1992.

Forestier denied being involved in any such plot. But police saw a relationship between his execution-style murder and the Mbaou investigation.  “We find it difficult to believe this murder has no link with [Mr Forestier’s] implication in the Mbaou affair,” a French investigator said, according to the newspaper.

Mbaou is a vocal critic of the regime in Congo, where Nguesso has been president since 1997. He previously served as president from 1979 to 1992.

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“We find it difficult to believe this murder has no link with [Mr Forestier’s] implication in the Mbaou affair.”

— French investigator

The author of several spy novels, Forestier was living in the small town of Lucinges with his family until authorities pursued him over the assassination plot.

“He never gave us any details of what he did,” the town's mayor, Jean-Luc Soulat, told a radio station, the Guardian reported. “He was very well settled here. He ran a bar-tobacconist here and only 15 days ago he helped me organize the opening of a village hall.”

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