Congo intelligence chief dies after suspension

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General Delphin Kahimbi, the deputy chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo [FARDC] has died.

Some reports say he died at his home having shot himself while National Security Council (CNS) sources told Jeune Afrique that he died at the fiftieth hospital in the capital Kinshasa.

On Thursday, February 20, the Directorate General of Migration (DGM) arrested General Delphin Kahimbi as he was about to fly to South Africa.

FARDC announced yesterday that Gen Kahimbi who was incharge of military intelligence had been suspended from his duties.

Victoria University

He died today, Friday February 28, 2020.

He is a relative of former president Joseph Kabila.

He was arrested on February 20 by the Directorate General of Migration.

The general’s wife, Brenda Kahimbi, told Reuters he died of heart attack.

Criminal record

Like Kalev Mutond – the former head of the National Intelligence Agency (ANR, arrested on February 12) -, General Delphin Kahimbi was accused of having concealed weapons and of attempted destabilization.

The FARDC deputy chief of staff was also suspected of having placed the current government under surveillance.

In 2016, the European Union and United States announced targeted sanctions against a total of nine senior Congolese officials who have played a key role in the repression over the past two years.

The list includes; Kalev Mutondo, director of the country’s National Intelligence Agency, and Evariste Boshab, vice prime minister and interior minister, Ilunga Kampete, commander of the Republican Guard; Gabriel Amisi Kumba, commander for the western region of the Congolese army; Ferdinand Ilunga Luyolo, commander of the anti-riot body known as the National Intervention Legion of the Congolese National Police (LENI); and Celestin Kanyama, Kinshasa police commissioner.

Gen Kahimbi

Delphin Kahimbi

Gen. Delphin Kahimbi is implicated in serious human rights abuses in Congo, including involvement in arbitrary arrests, torture, and ill-treatment of detainees, especially of ethnic Tutsi.

In 2006, as the deputy commander of the 8th Military Region, Kahimbi allegedly arbitrarily arrested and detained people in his private residence in Goma. A man arrested in Goma in December 2006 alleged that he was beaten with a belt and tortured with electric shocks, including by Kahimbi.

In 2008, as second in command of the Congolese army in North Kivu and in operational command of the Kiwanja and Rutshuru area during operations against the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) rebel group, Kahimbi showed considerable hostility toward UN peacekeeping troops. He knowingly put peacekeepers and the civilians who cluster near their bases at risk of being caught in crossfire. As part of a broader failure to cooperate with the UN peacekeepers, Kahimbi also appears to have been involved in instigating demonstrations against UN peacekeepers, which led to restrictions on UN patrols, leaving peacekeepers frequently absent when residents were attacked.

As coordinator of the pre-disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process for combatants, Kahimbi alongside other officials failed to provide adequate food and health care to demobilized combatants, their wives, and children in a remote military camp in Congo in 2014. Over 100 of them died there from starvation and disease.

More recently, as commander of military intelligence, Kahimbi has been implicated in arbitrary arrests, detention, and mistreatment in Kinshasa in the context of repression against the political opposition and others. Norbert Luyeye, president of the opposition political party Union of Republicans (Union des Républicains, UR), was arrested with six others on August 7, 2016 at Luyeye’s home.

On August 4, Luyeye had declared at his party headquarters that a legal vacuum would ensue if the National Independent Electoral Committee (CENI) failed to call elections in September, and called for a meeting in Kinshasa’s Ndjili neighborhood on September 4 to prepare for the September 19 demonstrations.

The military intelligence services are detaining them all in Kinshasa without charge and without access to their families or lawyer.

Cubain Tshimbalanga, a member of the Congolese Solidarity for Democracy (SCODE) political opposition party, was arrested in Kinshasa on September 26, detained at the military intelligence headquarters in Kinshasa, and badly beaten before his release in early October.

He was not charged or allowed access to his family or lawyers during his detention. Martin Fayulu, an opposition leader and president of the Engagement for Citizenship and Development (ECIDE) political party, was also detained for several hours at the military intelligence headquarters in Kinshasa on February 14, 2016, and a number of his belongings were seized.

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