September 17, 2012
DRC Wants Lumbala Extradited from France
Democratic Republic of Congo Information Minister Lambert Mende said the government of President Joseph Kabila will pay any price for the security of the country.
This comes after Kinshasa said Sunday it will ask France to extradite opposition figure Roger Lumbala for his alleged support of the M23 rebels in eastern Congo.
Lumbala was due to arrive in France Sunday from South Africa, where he had taken refuge.
Mende said the DRC government wants to end impunity because Congolese have suffered so much from M23 atrocities.
“We want him to come to Congo, so that he will explain to the justice of his country about some information that we have had that he went to Rwanda to plot against the security of his country with those who are held responsible for the war that is killing and destroying the eastern part of Congo,” he said.
Burundian authorities arrested Lumbala earlier this month after he arrived there from Rwanda. He then took refuge in the South African embassy.
Mende said, wherever Lumbala goes, the DRC government will seek his extradition.
“We were ready to ask South Africa or Burundi for his extradition, but due to the fact that the parliament was on leave and that they came back only yesterday, the justice of this country was waiting to be authorized by the parliament to proceed. So, in France, or in Burundi, or in South Africa, we need Mr. Lumbala back to justify his action because we would like to end impunity. Congolese have been killed a lot,” Mende said.
He said his government has plenty of evidence against Lumbala, but Mende said the courts will decided his guilt after he has had his day before the justice system.
Mende said the government will do everything it its power to have Lumbala extradited.
“We are ready to face any cost because we think that security for Congo has no price, and I don’t think that to have Mr. Lumbala back is such a cost that Congo cannot afford,” Mende said.
UN Undersecretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, Herve Ladsous, reportedly said only a political solution, not military action, would end the war in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ladsous has been visiting the Great Lakes region in advance of a UN summit on September 27th.
Mende said the DRC government plans to attend the New York meeting with the hope that the international community will impress upon Rwanda that there is a better way to live with its neighbors.
“They should prepare themselves in helping to have Rwanda back to a better way of living with a neighbor, stopping this policy of looting, this policy of bringing confusion and chaos in a neighboring country, and stopping this policy of military aggression to solve the economic problems of his [President Paul Kagame) country,” Mende said.