Widow of slain DRC human rights defender urges DRC to try alleged mastermind who fled

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  • A decade after murdering two human rights defenders former senior police officers were jailed.
  • The wife of one of the murder victims has called on the High Military Court to track down all of those implicated.
  • General John Numbi who allegedly ordered the hit is on the run and was suspected to be in Zimbabwe. 

The widow of a human rights defender, murdered by the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) police in 2010, has called on authorities to pin down every single person implicated.

Annie Chebeya's husband Floribert Chebeya, then director of the DRC's leading human rights organisation, Voix des Sans Voix (Voice of the Voiceless), and his driver, Fidèle Bazana were killed after they had been invited to a meeting with then DRC police chief General John Numbi.

The next day, police said Chebeya was found dead in his car, but Bazana's body was never found.

Last week the DRC's High Military Court handed former police colonel Christian Ngoy Kenga a death sentence commuted to life, while former lieutenant Jacques Mugabo was jailed for 12 years.

The court acquitted former police major Paul Mwilambwe, who turned state witness.

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The three men were initially sentenced to death in absentia in June 2011 for the assassination. They appealed the sentence and their case was heard last year in September leading to reviewed sentences.

It's alleged that General John Numbi who allegedly ordered the hit is on the run and is suspected to be in Zimbabwe. 

"This is a step, but this isn't finished. All those who were cited, who knew about the orders or participated in this odious assassination, all of them should be arrested and prosecuted," said Annie Chebeya in an interview with Human Rights Watch. Her plea is that DRC authorities should press ahead with the hunt for Numbi.

Numbi fled the DRC last year during the appeal trial of Kenga and Mugabo after it was revealed that the hit was allegedly ordered by Numbi.

During the first trial, Numbi appeared as a witness. When authorities moved to investigate Numbi and issued a warrant of arrest for him he fled. Some reports said he went to Zimbabwe, but authorities there say they are not aware of his presence.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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