World DR Congo probes police chief over murder of rights activist
Elections in Congo: the old president faced with the expectations of the youth
© Provided by Le Point L st president of Congo -Brazzaville Denis Sassou Nguesso , 77 years old, including 36 in total in power, placed in heart of his campaign the expectations of a youth who hesitates between fear of the future and rejection of his regime, on the eve of the presidential election on March 21. Candidate for his own succession against six opponents, the outgoing president announced "a consultation of young people on social networks".
Prosecutors in the Democratic Republic of Congo have launched an investigation into a former police chief over the high-profile murder of a human rights activist, the justice ministry said Thursday.
General John Numbi is suspected of orchestrating the killing of Floribert Chebeya, whose body was found in his car on the outskirts of Kinshasa in June 2010.
"Denunciations of General John Numbi... have been brought to the attention of the judicial authorities," the DRC's acting justice minister, Bernard Takahishe Ngumbi, told AFP.
Congo veteran Sassou Nguesso looks to extend rule in election
The Republic of Congo votes in presidential elections on Sunday with incumbent Denis Sassou Nguesso aiming to extend his decades-long hold on power in the Central African state. - Oil-dependent - Sitting between Gabon and its giant neighbour the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo has significant oil reserves and 80 percent of its budget comes from petroleum. But the former French colony, also known as Congo-Brazzaville, has been hit hard by cycles of falling world crude prices and is also hobbled by corruption and poor infrastructure.
"At a minimum, a judicial process is launched" in such circumstances, he said. "This has been done. The public prosecutor is currently investigating."
Five policemen have been convicted for the murder, three of them in absentia.
But the European Union and rights groups called for a reopening of the case following evidence in February from two policemen who said they had taken part in the killing and that it had been ordered by Numbi.
Chebeya, head of a group called Voice for the Voiceless (VSV), had been called to the police station in Kinshasa the day before his murder.
His supporters say that he was called for a meeting with Numbi, the nation's police chief at the time. Numbi has denied this.
Chebeya's driver, Fidele Bazana, who took him to the appointment, subsequently went missing and is suspected to have also been killed.
30 dead in clashes between troops and militia in east DR Congo
Thirty people, including 11 civilians, have died in two days of fighting between government forces and a militia in the eastern DR Congo province of Ituri, the army said Thursday. Tens of thousands of people died in Ituri between 1999 and 2003 in fighting between the Lendu and Hema ethnic group. It was brought to an end thanks to Operation Artemis -- the European Union's first military operation outside Europe -- but resumed at the end of 2017, focussed on Djugu.More than 120 armed groups are active in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, many of them the legacy of regional wars in the 1990s.
Numbi was suspended shortly after Chebeya's murder, but has never been tried in connection with it.
He appeared in 2011 as a witness in the trial of the accused policemen, but was not called again when the case went to appeal in 2015.
A key ally of former president Joseph Kabila, Numbi was placed under US and European sanctions in December 2016 for a police crackdown on protests in the region of Bas Congo in 2008 that according to Human Rights Watch (HRW) claimed more than 200 lives.
But in 2017 he was given an award by Kabila, a move that incensed campaign groups.
The following year, he was appointed armed forces inspector general, but Kabila's successor, Felix Tshisekedi, replaced him last July.
- Zimbabwe 'refuge' -
Numbi has fled to Zimbabwe, according to two sources.
Georges Kapiamba, head of a campaign group called the Congolese Association for Access to Justice (ACAJ), said on Twitter on Monday that Numbi "took refuge in Zimbabwe two weeks ago" and his bodyguard had been arrested.
Congo-B: the lawyer of the human rights activist Alexandre Dzabana denounces an "arbitrary detention"
© AP / John Bompengo On the eve of the presidential election, Sunday, March 21, the FIDH says " Concerned about the deterioration of the state of freedoms "in Congo-Brazzaville. (Picture of illustration: a polling station of Brazzaville). Congo-Brazzaville has been headed for almost 37 years by Denis Sassou-Nguesso that will brigurate tomorrow Sunday, March 21, a new presidential term. He will face six other candidates including two former ministers, Mathias Dzon and Kolelas perfect brice.
A source close to Numbi told AFP "Numbi is in Zimbabwe."
His farm near the southeastern city of Lubumbashi "was searched on Saturday by soldiers of the Presidential Guard," the same day when the bodyguard was arrested, the source said.
In a separate development, an official document seen by AFP on Thursday included Numbi, one of the DRC's three most senior generals, on a list of nearly 80 DRC army officers who have been told to "return to Kinshasa" from deployment in Lubumbashi.
The city is a stronghold of Kabila, who has been losing ground in a tussle for power with Tshisekedi.
Tshisekedi earlier this year whittled away at support for Kabila among lawmakers in the National Assembly, enabling him to appoint his preferred prime minister after two years of having to share power with the Kabila camp.
Jill Biden urges farmworkers to get vaccinated in California .
DELANO, Calif. (AP) — First lady Jill Biden praised California farmworkers for their persistence during the pandemic and urged them to get vaccinated during a visit Wednesday to an agricultural region of the state. “Without the farmworkers who kept harvesting our food, or the factory workers who packaged it, or the grocery store clerks who stocked our shelves, hey, we wouldn’t have made it through this year," Biden said. She delivered remarks at The Forty Acres, once the headquarters of the United Farm Workers and now a vaccination site for those workers. She was joined by Gov.