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Ambassador: Congo Will Investigate Activist’s Death

  • Peter Clottey

A Congolese envoy told VOA that President Joseph Kabila’s government will soon launch a full-scale investigation into the death of human rights activist Floribert Chebeya, who was found dead in the capital, Kinshasa, Wednesday.

Bene M’Poko, who is Congo’s ambassador to South Africa, called for calm as the government investigates the circumstances surrounding the death of the human rights campaigner.

“We don’t need the head of the United Nations to tell us how to conduct this kind of business because the government itself is very concerned and has called for an investigation. We are going to do a full investigation into the death of Floribert. Floribert was very well known, very well respected human rights activists and his death has left a vacuum,” he said.

Congo's President Joseph Kabila

Congo's President Joseph Kabila

The U.N. Mission to the DRC (MONUC) called for an investigation after Amnesty International called Floribert Chebeya’s death suspicious.

But, Ambassador M’Poko said the administration is determined to ascertain the circumstances that led to the death of the rights activist.

“The government has called for a full investigation because the cause of death has not yet been determined. All we know is that the body was found in the car, but there was no gun wound (and) there was no evidence of any force being inflicted on him,” Ambassador M’Poko said.

Congo’s media quoted the police as saying that Chebeya’s body was discovered in the back of his car in the Mitendi neighborhood of Kinshasa Wednesday morning in circumstances that suggested a sexual link.

Ambassador M’Poko dismissed speculations of foul play in Chebeya’s death.

“It’s very sad when respected organizations come out with those kinds of statements. They were not there (and) they were not eyewitnesses when this happened (and) when the body was found there was no evidence (of) any force being inflicted upon Floribert,” Ambassador M’Poko said.

Until his death, Floribert Chebeya was the head of the National Network of Human Rights, Non-Governmental Organizations in Congo, as well as the Voice of the Voiceless rights group.

Supporters have previously complained that the rights campaigner was often harassed and intimidated by the Congolese authorities, charges officials sharply deny.

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