Human rights group calls on DRC to investigate murder of four members of President Felix Tshisekedi’s political party

Although we are headquartered in Washington D.C. USA, our reporters and editors are working around the globe to cover what you care about. We invite you to donate to our fundraiser to help us keep our quality news free and available to all.  

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo should ensure an effective investigation into the apparent murder of four members of President Felix Tshisekedi’s political party, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.

“The grim discovery of dumped bodies days after a political protest sends a chilling warning about the freedom of expression in Congo,” said Thomas Fessy, senior Congo researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“As political tensions currently run high, no lead should be overlooked, and the authorities should pursue justice wherever the investigation takes them.”

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

The human rights organization said the investigation should be thorough, independent, and impartial and pursue credible information that others are still missing, possibly victims of enforced disappearances. “Investigators should also pursue information that the men found dead had been detained at a military-run facility in the southern city of Lubumbashi following a demonstration on July 9, 2020,” HRW added.

On July 8, members of former president Joseph Kabila’s People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) and Tshisekedi’s political party Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) – both part of the ruling coalition – clashed in the streets of Lubumbashi. On July 9, mass protests took place in several cities against the appointment of a new president for the electoral commission. Several sources have confirmed that at least 16 people were arrested and held in military detention following the demonstration in Lubumbashi.

On July 12, the body of Dodo Ntumba, 49, was found floating in the Lubumbashi river. On July 13, the bodies of Mardoché Matanda and Héritier Mpiana, both 18, were recovered from the river. On August 3, family members of Danny Kalambayi, 29, found his body at a morgue nearly a month after they last saw him. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that all four bodies had traces of cuts and mutilation, which could be the result of torture. They were all members of Tshisekedi’s political party.

Human Rights Watch said it interviewed 39 family members of the victims, political party members, lawyers, activists, government officials, and medical, security, and judicial sources.

The organization quoted sources as confirming that some demonstrators were held in military custody following the protest but the exact number and what happened to them remain unknown.

The investigation should clarify whether the four men recently found dead were part of the group and if others are still unaccounted for and have been forcibly disappeared, Human Rights Watch said, adding that “it should also explain what legal power military forces were exercising when they detained the demonstrators.”

These deaths occurred in a context of growing repression since the start of the year, which Human Rights Watch recently documented. Political tensions and insecurity have also been mounting in the Haut-Katanga province, where civil society groups have repeatedly raised their concerns in recent months. Many of the political rifts fall along ethnic lines reigniting tensions between native Katangans and immigrants, and their descendants, from the Kasai region.

Haut-Katanga is the PPRD’s historic stronghold while the UDPS heartlands are in the neighboring Kasai region. Several people were injured in the scuffles on July 8, according to local human rights organizations, including some with machete wounds. The PPRD youth leader, Pathy Zingi, known as “Pathy Benz,” speaking to Human Rights Watch, denied allegations against him that he had provided party members with machetes.

During the July 9 protests, the police killed two demonstrators in Lubumbashi. Scores more were injured in the mayhem. There were also protests across the capital, Kinshasa, where at least one demonstrator was also killed and protesters beat a police officer to death while another officer was severely wounded.

“These killings seem to be part of a dramatic escalation in the political rivalries within the ruling coalition,” Fessy said. “The fate of these four men as well as that of those still allegedly missing should be fully investigated, and those responsible should be identified and prosecuted in fair trials.”


Today News Africa
Today News Africa
TODAY NEWS AFRICA is registered and headquartered in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America. Our publication is widely read, respected and influential. By providing daily answers to questions our readers have about the people, the businesses and the continent of Africa, we are reaching a diverse and wide audience from around the world. Our readers, many of them world leaders, trust us because we are independent and truthful. Our advertisers understand the difference between news, views and ads. Contact us:


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending Now



Amnesty International USA outraged over Trump’s decision to cut refugee cap to lowest level ever

Amnesty International USA has expressed outrage over the announcement by the Donald Trump administration late on Wednesday that it will admit...

Human Rights Watch warns Egypt security forces torturing gays

Egyptian police and National Security Agency officers arbitrarily arrest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and detain them in inhuman conditions,...

World leaders, celebrities to join WHO’s big event for mental health on October 10. About 1 billion people live with a mental disorder

On October 10, World Mental Health Day, world leaders and internationally-recognized celebrities and mental health advocates will come together for the World...

Trump admin will admit only 15,000 refugees in 2021 down from 18,000 this year and 100,000 under Obama

The Donald Trump administration announced late on Wednesday that it will admit only 15,000 refugees in the 2021 fiscal year which...

Rights groups urge President Tshisekedi to end widespread impunity in DR Congo as crimes and killings continue

At least two human rights organizations are urging President Felix Tshisekedi to take concrete steps to end impunity in the Democratic...


Damning report finds detainees in Iran were sexually abused and given electric shocks in gruesome post-protest crackdown

Iran’s police, intelligence and security forces, and prison officials have committed, with the complicity of judges and prosecutors, a catalogue of...

IMF has given $31 billion to 76 countries to respond to COVID-19, including over $10 billion to 47 low income nations

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given $31 billion in emergency financing to 76 countries in the world to respond to...

Nigeria could shut down on Monday as more unions pledge to join strike amid increase in power and petrol prices

Africa's most populous country, Nigeria, could shut down on Monday, as more unions pledge to join a strike action amid an...

Nigerian activists send open letter to President Buhari urging him to prosecute more than 100 high-profile corruption cases he has ignored

Nigerian activists have sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari urging him to prosecute more than 100 high-profile corruption cases...

Biden wins disastrous, embarrassing, worst presidential debate, as out of control Trump fails to change perceptions and refuses to condemn white supremacists

Joe Biden won the first presidential debate on Tuesday night amid countless interruptions by President Donald Trump who was supposed to...

Amnesty International USA outraged over Trump’s decision to cut refugee cap to lowest level ever

Amnesty International USA has expressed outrage over the announcement by the Donald Trump administration late on Wednesday that it will admit only 15,000 refugees in the 2021 fiscal year which starts today, October 1.That number is down from the 18,000 cap this year, and dramatically down from 100,000 under the Obama administration.“The number of...


[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]