News / Africa

Rights Groups Condemn Arrest of DRC Opposition Figures

Diomi Ndongala (center, wearing suit) and other opposition activists are seen confronting policemen in Kinshasa in this October 13, 2011, file photo.Diomi Ndongala (center, wearing suit) and other opposition activists are seen confronting policemen in Kinshasa in this October 13, 2011, file photo.
x
Diomi Ndongala (center, wearing suit) and other opposition activists are seen confronting policemen in Kinshasa in this October 13, 2011, file photo.
Diomi Ndongala (center, wearing suit) and other opposition activists are seen confronting policemen in Kinshasa in this October 13, 2011, file photo.
Nick Long
Rights groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo have condemned what they call "irregularities" in the arrest of an opposition politician and his aide, accused of plotting to kill DRC President Joseph Kabila.
 
This is the third alleged coup plot DRC authorities have said they have uncovered this year. This one was made public a few days ago when 13 suspects were presented to the media in Kinshasa.
 
The suspects were lined up in front of some items that a police spokesman said they had intended to use to attack the presidential motorcade. These included a machete, some empty bottles, three bottles containing a little gasoline, some portable phones and a mattress, but no firearms.
 
Police said one of the suspects, Verdict Mituntwa, had named his employer, opposition politician Diomi Ndongala, as "the organizer and financier" of the plot.
 
But media reports from the presentation said Mituntwa and the other suspects denied this and shouted that the whole thing was a set-up.
 
Georges Kapiamba is a lawyer and president of the Congolese League for Access to Justice. His group, and another, the Association of Young Advocates for an Integral Leadership, have condemned the circumstances of Mituntwa’s arrest.
 
Kapiamba said his organization was contacted more than three months ago by Mituntwa's relatives, who complained that he had been taken away by unidentified people, thrown in a vehicle and driven to an unknown destination. He said Mituntwa was kept in secret custody for three months, which is a serious breach of Congolese law.
  
It is inadmissible, he told VOA, that people be arrested, kept in secret custody and then produced two or three months later. The authorities claim the suspects have confessed, he added, but questioned under what circumstances these alleged confessions were obtained?
 
Mituntwa's employer Diomi Ndongala - the man he is alleged to have implicated in the coup plot - was arrested April 8 on charges of raping a minor. That charge dates back to June 2012 when he had disappeared for three months. Ndongala was found by the side of a road in Kinshasa, injured and in a poor state of health, a few days before the Francophone summit in early October.
 
He told the media he had been kidnapped and kept in a secret jail. His lawyer told VOA last year that the man who claimed to be the father of the girl Ndongala had allegedly raped was not in fact her father and had recently been convicted for blackmail.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid