Archive for Congo
Japanese diplomat who formerly worked for the Japanese embassy in Congo was arrested by Tokyo police on suspicion of setting fire at the embassy office in June of this year. 30-year-old Shinya Yamada, who worked as the third secretary in the office in Kinshasa is alleged to have caused the fire which partially burned the two floors where the embassy was located. This was a rare case where Japanese authorities personally investigated an incident that occurred in a diplomatic mission in another country. Members of the Tokyo police were sent to Congo at the behest of the Foreign Ministry to look into the situation. Upon their investigation, the police discovered that Yamada embezzled some of the funds at the embassy and then set fire to the fourth floor offices to hide his misdeed. He sprinkled gasoline all over the floor, where the offices of the ambassador and counselor are also located. Records show that he was the last person to leave the embassy on the day of the fire on June 20. The police also found a tank at Yamada’s Congo residence that may have contained the gasoline used in the fire. Fortunately, no one was injured during the fire, although it caused damage to the offices, which were located on two floors of a four-story building in the country’s capital. There were 20 employees at that time, with half of them locally hired staff. The office was relocated temporarily to the ambassador’s residence and then to a condominium unit. Yamada later on went back to Japan where he worked at the Foreign Ministry.
The United States Embassy in Kigali has said the media reports suggesting that senior Rwandan officials faced possible prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged support to DRC’s M23 rebels were inaccurate. The reports, initially published in The Guardian of the UK, were attributed to Ambassador Stephen Rapp, the head of the US Office of Global Criminal Justice. “Ambassador (Stephen) Rapp was not calling for any specific prosecution in this case,” Susan Falatko, the Public Affairs Officer, at the American Embassy in Kigali told The New Times, saying the official was misquoted by the newspaper. In The Guardian interview, Falatko explained, Rapp may have been misunderstood since the context of the interview was Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president who was, in May, sentenced by a UN-backed war crimes court to 50 years in prison for his role in aiding and abetting crimes in the neighbouring Sierra Leone. The Guardian story had suggested that Rwandan leaders, who have been accused of supporting Congo rebels – despite the lack of credible evidence – risk prosecution at the International Criminal Court (ICC). However, a senior ICC official said the Hague-based court was not investigating any Rwandan leader. The court’s focus is on the arrest of the rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda of the M23 rebel group, Phakiso Mochochoko, head of the Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division at the ICC, told reporters during a visit to Nairobi. Kigali has challenged the report by a UN Panel of Experts on the Congo, which accused senior Rwandan officials of supporting M23 rebels, largely composed of former members of the ex-CNDP rebel movement, who deserted the army in April citing Kinshasa’s failure to honour its commitments under a March 23, 2009 peace deal.
Vice Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng on Monday urgently summoned Felix Ngoma, charge d’affaires of the Republic of Congo’s embassy in China, after Chinese nationals were killed and injured in an arsenal blast in the country’s capital, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. The blast occurred at 8 am on Sunday, local time, in Brazzaville. Xie called for the Republic of Congo to take all necessary measures to rescue and treat the injured Chinese. The Chinese government attaches great importance to safeguarding its overseas citizens, the vice foreign minister said. Xie said a Chinese working group will soon reach the Republic of Congo. The Republic of Congo also should protect the security of other Chinese organizations, enterprises and personnel in the country, Xie said. China expresses condolence and sympathy to the severe casualties in the Republic of Congo due to the unfortunate incident, Xie said. Ngoma gave his thanks for China’s sympathy and solicitude. The Chinese Embassy in the Republic of Congo has confirmed six Chinese are dead and dozens injured, some of them seriously. About 140 Chinese workers of the Beijing Construction Engineering Group were working at a nearby construction site when the explosion occurred.
At least 4 people are known dead after several powerful explosions ripped through an army ammunition dump near the Congolese capital Brazzaville. The death toll is likely to rise. The blast shattered window panes in the Russian Embassy compound. The smoke from the explosions could be seen from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Three senior diplomats have resigned from their posts at the Congolese embassy in London and claimed asylum in the UK. Baby Kazadi Moussonzo, first secretary to the ambassador; Mamie Yaya Efunga, another first secretary; and Kabengele Mamba, second secretary, had between them a total of 14 years service at the London embassy. They resigned earlier this month and have issued a lengthy statement denouncing their government, accusing it of presiding over a “climate of terror”. They claimed the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was guilty of abductions, arrests and assassinations as well as turning the police and Republican Guard into a private militia. Congo’s incumbent president, Joseph Kabila, was re-elected last November but controversy surrounded the results with opposition politicians claiming the ballot was rigged. The three diplomats said in their statement that there had been substantial election fraud and ballot box stuffing. A spokeswoman for the Congolese embassy said it was not commenting on the resignations.