BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo (AP) — Authorities in Republic of Congo have arrested a general who had been close to the president on allegations of planning a coup.

Local media reports said Friday that former armed forces inspector Gen. Norbert Dabira was detained Wednesday.

The reports say Dabira had "planned to destroy the presidential plane while in flight" and that Gen. Nianga Mbouala is accused of being a possible accomplice. Mbouala was dismissed as the commander of the Republican Guard last week and is under house arrest.

Human rights groups have criticized President Denis Sassou N'Guesso for alleged rights violations and called for the release of political prisoners.

Two candidates who ran against Sassou N'Guesso in 2016 elections, Gen. Jean Marie Michel Mokoko and Andre Okombi Salissa, have been jailed without trial.