By Jean-Pierre Afadhali
New investigations into the assassination of two prominent human rights activists killed ten years ago in DR Congo reveal the police generals could be responsible for one of high profile crimes committed during former president Joseph Kabila’s era marred by human rights violations.
Two former police officers who testified in investigations conducted by Radio France International (RFI)published on Monday this week, said they played a role in the gruesome murder of Floribert Chebeya and Fidele Bazana, two prominent rights activists from the organization ‘La Voix des Sans Voix’ (the Voice of Voiceless) killed in 2010 under the orders of their superiors.
For the first time exiled police officers who were part of the commando that carried out the double assassination have confessed to their involvement in the notorious murder that happened under Kabila presidency (2001-2019). According to Hergil Ilunga wa Ilunga, one of the witnesses who talked to the French radio from exile, on 1 June 2010 two human rights activists were killed by suffocation at the police headquarter in Kinshasa under the order of the then Inspector General of Police General John Numbi. General Numbi was Kabila’s ally and the former reportedly ordered him to execute the duo activists.
According to RFI, Ilunga has never been prosecuted but he said he was part of seven police officers’ commando that was charged to assassinate the famous Congolese human rights activists. On 2 June 2010, the body of the Executive Director of the NGO La Voix des Sans Voix, Flolibert Chebeya was found in his car after he was suffocated with condoms and two nails in the outskirts of the capital Kinshasa. However, the body of his assistant and friend Fidele Bazana has never been found.
According to Radio France International, more and more police officers are saying they are ready to testify in the courts as” they know every details of the assassination, are demanding the arrest of General Numbi and the protection of their families”.
Another police officer called Paul Mwirambwe witnessed the murder of the two prominent Congolese human rights activist via CCTV camera. The officer was convicted in absentia for the murder of Floribert Chebeya and Fidele Bazana, was the first to flee and revealed names of those who were present including Ilunga. He was interviewed by RFI in 2012 and continues to denounce those culpable for the crime. He lives in exile since then.
Now, the Congolese civil society and Western diplomats including EU, Bruxelles, USA are calling the Congolese military court to consider latest revelations for the assassination case that was closed in 2011. Meanwhile, International human rights organizations such as International Federation of Human IFHR) rights and Congolese organization such as La Voix des Sans Voix are also demanding the reopening of the case.
Paul Nsapu from IFHR, said the revelations of two exiled police officers who were part of the commando that carried out the gruesome murder of prominent activists add a new dimension to the case.
“They certainly constitute new elements, which should encourage the authorities to reopen the case under conditions which can allow, finally, all those responsible …”
General Numbi has not yet reacted on the latest revelations while or General Djadjidja also accused in the double assassination has denied any involvement.