By Jean-Pierre Afadhali
A high military court in the Democratic Republic of Congo has handed a life sentence to Christian Ngoy Kenga, Commissioner of Police for his role in the double assassination of Floribery Chebeya, a prominent human rights activist and his driver Fidele Bazana more than a decade ago.
The court also acquitted co-accused in the high-profile case commissioner of police Paul Mwilambwe and sentenced another police officer Jacques Mugabo to 12 years in prison and deregistered him from the Congolese Police, reported actualite.cd a local news website.
Commissioner of police Christian Ngoy Kenga was found guilty of murder, desertion and misappropriation of weapons and ammunition.
According several testimonies Mr. Chebeya was summoned on 1st June 2010 by the then Inspector General of Police General John Numbi. His body was found the following day in his car, his hands had handcuffs’ scars in the outskirts of the capital Kinshasa.
Mr. Chebeya, a prominent human rights activist led an organization called La Voix des Sans Voix [ Voice of Voiceless]. He has received death threats several times for being critical of the government for more than 20 years as a human rights defender.
There is a moratorium on capital punishments in DR Congo but the death penalty has not been abolished and military courts continue to hand down such sentences.
Policeman Mugabo one of the convicts admitted to having strangled Mr. Chebeya and his driver Mr. Bazana. Police commissioner Mwilambwe was a key witness in the trial that was long overdue in human rights community.
Mr. Mwilambwe, had been a fugitive since the murder and was repatriated last year, named ex-President Joseph Kabila and the former head of police General John Numbi, as having ordered the killing, BBC reported.
Neither Mr. Kabila nor Gen Numbi whose whereabouts is not known have commented publicly on the case, but a military court has charged the general with the murder of Mr. Chebeya and his driver.
The case was re-opened in 2021 and Kenga, Mugabo and Mr. Mwilambwe were initially sentenced to death in 2011. Kenga was arrested in 2020 in the southern city of Lubumbashi in Katanga province.
Under president Joseph Kabila the DR Congo government was accused several times human rights violation in addition to instability in some parts of the mineral-rich country.
The killing of Mr. Chebeya shocked the world and prompted widespread international condemnation.