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

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

Border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared their stories More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs