DRC opposition MP says held for months

2012-10-15 22:17
Eugene Diomi Ndongala

Eugene Diomi Ndongala

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Kinshasa - A Democratic Republic of Congo opposition deputy suspected of rape claimed on Monday that police and soldiers had held him for three months despite his parliamentary immunity, a charge officials deny.

Eugene Diomi Ndongala, a former mining minister and current head of the Christian Democracy party, said at a press conference from his home that he was assaulted by police in late June and later detained in different locations around Kinshasa.

He said he was submitted to interrogations, including one involving violence.

He said the police only released him last week out of fear they would be questioned when world leaders descended on the city for the summit of French-speaking nations that took place over the weekend.

Ahead of the summit, French President Francois Hollande branded the central African country's record as "totally unacceptable in terms of human rights, democracy and the recognition of the opposition" and also cited the violent rebellions and ethnic conflict gripping eastern regions as an area of concern.

"The statements by Francois Hollande spooked them, they got scared," Ndongala said of the ANR national police service known for its severity.

Ndongbala added that he had filed a complaint against the police and army for their actions during a search of his office the day before he claims he was taken away.

During the visit, officers found several used condoms and accused Ndongbala of rape. As a deputy, Ndongbala is protected by parliamentary immunity and can only be pursued legally if the immunity is lifted.

Government spokesperson Lambert Mende denied Ndongbala's claims. "No one detained him, that I can confirm. He hid on his own, he was on the run to escape justice... He has just resurfaced on his own, no one detained him," he told AFP.

"He's a manipulator, who only wants to profit from the more or less controversial atmosphere at the Francophonie summit aroused by the French president's speech," he added.

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