DR Congo: RIAO-RDC calls for the immediate release of four leaders from the community of Mwingi who were arrested after a peaceful protest against the oil palm plantation company PHC
Four members of RIAO-RDC were arrested during a march held by the communities of Mwingi to protest the arrival of a company delegation led by Mr Mpinga, the new boss of Feronia/KKM, accompanied by his investors.
Those arrested are :
▪︎ Mr Christian Litikela (member of RIAO-RDC in Lokutu);
▪︎ Mr André Lisongi (member of RIAO-RDC in Lokutu);
▪︎ Mr José Litikela (member of RIAO-RDC in Lokutu);
▪︎ Mr Chimita ALELA (leader of Mwingi).
They were almost abducted and tomorrow, 14 February 2021, they will be taken to Yangambi Central Prison.
The parents of the three members of RIAO-RDC visited the RIAO-Lokutu operations officer to request the intervention of RIAO-RDC and its allies to seek their release before being transferred to Yangambi or Kisangani, where they would likely be held in prison for several months, as was the case of the 5 leaders of Yalifombo who are still awaiting a verdict, although they have been required to appear in court every month in Yangambi on bail.
Reasons given for the arrests :
The 3 members of the RIAO-DRC in Lokutu were arrested under a false accusation of having incited revolt, having taken pictures of the protest march and having given interviews about the march to journalists in Lokutu.
Mr. Alela is accused of having made serious statements against Feronia during the said march and during interviews with journalists who were reporting on the march which was held to protest the massive violations of community rights and human rights perpetrated by PHC/Feronia/KKM.
RIAO-RDC strongly condemns this violation of freedom of expression and the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of the 4 people.
We demand their immediate release as the protest march is a democratic form of demonstration authorised by Congolese law and several international legal instruments ratified and signed by the Democratic Republic of Congo.
We call on the Western development banks that fund PHC/Feronia/ KKM in the Congo to do their best to put an end to these kinds of atrocities against the members of RIAO-DRC and their beneficiaries.
▪︎ We warn Mr. KING MPIKA (Mr. Kalaa Mpinga's cousin) who made death threats to Mr. Christian Litikela and Chimita Alela (saying he would make them disappear before leaving Lokutu).
In addition, in Bolesa, Mr King Mpika and his forces were able to bring back 4 leaders from Bolesa who are being held at the Congolese National Police jail in Lokutu while awaiting to be taken to the central prison in Kisangani.
For more information, contact:
Jean-François Mombia Atuku, Director of RIAO-RDC