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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs