Group pushes for action after activists’ deaths

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iol pic afr activists-killings-probe AFP A man wears a T-shirt with portraits of late activists Floribert Chebeya and Fidele Bazane during the 2013 trial of policemen accused of the 2010 killing of Chebeya. File picture: Junior D. Kannah

Dakar - A human rights group said it has filed a criminal complaint in Senegal against a senior Congolese police officer, accusing him of involvement in the killing four years ago of two prominent rights activists in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Shortly after the killings, the police major Paul Mwilambwe left the DRC for Senegal, which allows people living in the west African state to be brought to trial for crimes committed in other countries.

An official of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) said it had taken the action on Monday along with relatives of the activists, Floribert Chebeya and Fidele Bazana.

“We have lodged a complaint and we expect Senegalese authorities will appoint an investigative judge to question him(Mwilambwe) and other people involved in the case,” FIDH's Africa director Florent Geel told Reuters.

Mwilambwe was not immediately available for comment.

Chebeya was found dead in his car in June 2010, a day after being summoned to police headquarters in the Congolese capital Kinshasa to meet the head of the national police, General John Numbi.

Bazana disappeared after going to the station at the same time. While his body has never been found, Mwilambwe - who at the time was in charge of security for Numbi's office - confessed on France 24 television that he and several other senior police officers including Numbi had been involved in the killings of both activists.

Numbi, who has been suspended from his position under international pressure, has strongly denied any involvement.

The rights group said it brought its case in Senegal after repeated attempts to do so in Congo failed.

The law allowing suspects in Senegal to be tried for crimes committed elsewhere was used for the first time last year to start the prosecution of former Chadian leader Hissene Habre.

Habre, who has lived in Senegal since his overthrow in a coup, is accused of human rights abuses committed when president of the Central African country from 1982 to 1990. - Reuters


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