South African authorities on Thursday detained - for a few hours - a self-proclaimed “prophet” who is wanted by Kinshasa over his role in violence that claimed more than 100 lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s two main cities.
Joseph Mukungubila Mutombo, who describes himself as God's “last envoy to humanity after Jesus Christ and Paul of Tarsus”, was arrested at dawn at his house in the suburbs of Johannesburg.
“We managed to get him out on bail,” his South African lawyer, Ashraf Essop, told AFP, after an appearance in a Johannesburg court.
The lawyer said that the charges against Mukungubila are outlined in an Interpol arrest warrant following a complaint by the Congolese government.
The pastor has been accused of murder, intentional and aggravated assault, malicious destruction, as well as illegal and arbitrary detention, his lawyer said, without giving details of the specific incidents related to the charges.
The Congolese government has blamed Mukungubila for a spate of attacks in December on the airport, the main army headquarters in the capital and in the second city of Lubumbashi.
Government spokesman Lambert Mende said then that 103 people were killed - 95 attackers and eight members of the armed forces - and that Mukungubila was on the run.
On Thursday, Mende said: “What we are expecting now is his extradition so that he can answer for his crimes before justice.”
The pastor's lawyer said, however, that South African authorities cannot extradite him as he has filed an asylum request in the country.
Reached by telephone by AFP on Thursday, the pastor said the December 30 attacks were “staged” to eliminate him. - Sapa-AFP