DRC release American security advisor to opposition leader

June 13, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

Kenny Katombe / Reuters

 

By

Darell Maurice

After a month and a half of detention, the Kinshasa authorities last week released an American ex soldier used to ensure the security of the Congolese opposition leader Moses Katumbi.

Darryl Lewis, a former US soldier, left the headquarters of the General prosecutor’s office in Kinshasa last week in the presence of the Ambassador of the United States in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He had to leave the country later that evening.

Mr. Lewis was arrested April 24 in Lubumbashi (south eastern DRC) after an opposition protest with three other friends of Mr. Katumbi.

On May 4, the Congolese government announced the opening of an investigation into Mr. Katumbi on suspicion of “recruiting foreign mercenaries” and accused Lewis of belonging to a “network” of infiltration of armed agents in the DRC.

The US Embassy in Kinshasa had publicly refuted the allegations against Mr. Lewis. Mr. Katumbi, for his part had described as “grotesque lies” the charges against him.

According to the entourage of Mr. Katumbi, the American had been recruited as a “consultant” to ensure the safety of the opponent, who said he had feared for his safety.

Resigning as governor of Katanga, Mr. Katumbi left the DRC on May 20 after the official announcement of the forthcoming opening of his trial for infringement security of the state. The Congolese President and Head of State, Joseph Kabila, has been in power since 2001. His mandate ends on December 19 and the constitution forbids him to be re-elected. It now appears more certain each day that the Presidential election will not be held before December, the Constitutional Court issuing a judgment in May allowing Kabila to remain in office beyond his term.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Darell Maurice

Darell Maurice is a Journalist based in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital city Kinshasa and works for Canal7kintv. He also blogs here.

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