Arrest Of DR Congo Presidential Security Aide Sparks Protest

LAGOS FEBRUARY 8TH (NEWSRANGERS)-The surprise arrest of DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi’s special security advisor while the head of state was abroad has sparked protests and fears of instability within the government.

Francois Beya, who had been considered a key figure in the conflict-wracked central African country, was arrested by the intelligence service on Saturday.

There has been no official reason given for the arrest.

However a security source told AFP on condition of anonymity that Beya is “suspected of wanting to try something in the absence of the head of state, the nature of which will be determined after his hearing”.

Tshisekedi had travelled to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to attend a two-day African Union summit, which ended on Sunday with leaders condemning a recent “wave” of military coups on the continent.

Tshisekedi returned home on Saturday night, with his entourage denying that he had cut short his stay.

Lawyer Georges Kapiamba of the Congolese Association for Access to Justice (ACAJ) said he had visited Beya at the premises of the National Intelligence Agency (ANR).

“The ACAJ confirms the arrest and hearing of Mr Francois Beya by ANR investigators,” he tweeted on Saturday.

“The top officials of this service have reassured us that the entire procedure was conducted in strict respect for human rights.”

Kapiamba told reporters that Beya was “suspected of having participated in meetings involving state security”.

In an editorial in the Forum des As newspaper on Monday, Jose Nawej wrote that “by arresting the man whose job is to secure institutions”, Tshisekedi’s government had given “proof of the existence of a malaise at the heart of the government”.

– ‘It smells bad’ –

“Whether an attempted palace revolution, clan war… or even a diversionary manoeuvre — as some have suggested — it smells bad,” the editorialist wrote.

The arrest follows military takeovers in Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea in the past year and a half, as well as a foiled coup in Guinea-Bissau last week.

Congolese human rights NGO Justicia urged the government to “inform the population” rather than “allow hysteria over widespread insecurity to grow”.

News of the arrest prompted supporters of Tshisekedi’s Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party to take to the streets of the capital Kinshasa on Sunday, blocking part of a main road, with some throwing stones at passing cars, police said.

The protesters’ demands were unclear, but one, Justin Kashama, quoted in the newspaper Le Potential on Monday, said they “wanted to express their indignation against the report of a conspiracy against the head of state.”

“The people are angry,” he added.

Beya served as the head of migration under long-ruling former president Joseph Kabila until 2019 when he joined Tshisekedi’s team.

The unease comes as Tshisekedi has struggled to stop the bloodshed from conflicts with armed groups raging in the country’s east, after placing the North Kivu and Ituri provinces under a “state of siege” last May.

AFP

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Posted by on Feb 8 2022. Filed under International, National. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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