Ian Khama, the former president of Botswana, will contest an arrest warrant issued by a court for the possession of illegal firearms, his lawyer has said.

Khama, who led Botswana from 2008 to 2018, left the country last year for neighbouring South Africa after falling out with his successor, President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

The arrest warrant, issued on Friday by Gaborone’s regional magistrate, follows Khama’s failure to appear for trial earlier this year.

The 69-year-old faces 14 charges dating back to 2016, among them allegations of money laundering and handling stolen property, but the warrant is only for the possession of five illegal firearms.

Mareledi Dipate, the magistrate who issued the arrest warrant, said Khama should be apprehended on sight and taken to the Broadhurst Magistrate’s Court.

Victor Ramalepa, a lawyer for the former leader, told the local newspaper Mmegi that they will challenge the decision, without giving further details.

Khama has vehemently denied the charges, saying they are part of a political conspiracy due to his opposition to Masisi.