Liberation of Two Lucha Figures After Detention

Soukaina Sghir
Soukaina Sghir
3 Min Read
Liberation

The detention period for prominent civil society figures, Bienvenu Matumo and Freud Bauma has come to an end following two nights spent in the confines of the National Intelligence Agency (ANR) cell. The two pro-democracy activists, along with five others, were apprehended on Saturday, February 3, during a commemorative demonstration marking the 600th day of Bunagana’s occupation by M23 rebels in the eastern part of the country.

Bienvenu Matumo and Fred Bauma were released from the Internal Security Department of the ANR around 11 p.m. after enduring two nights in custody.

Both individuals have been long-standing advocates within the Lucha movement. Fred Bauma presently leads the Congolese Institute for Ebuteli Research, while Bienvenu Matumo, pursuing his doctoral studies in France, was in Kinshasa for research purposes.

During their detention at the ANR facilities, the two iconic figures of the movement stated they were questioned regarding a civil society meeting held in January, where opposition members were allegedly present, before the definitive announcement of the presidential election results.

This interrogation seemingly reflects authorities’ concerns over potential subversive activities within the capital.

Earlier on Monday, their lawyer, Jean-Claude Katende, was denied access to the ANR premises to provide legal assistance to his clients. They were deprived of visitation rights and legal counsel, according to their attorney, who decried the illegality of the interrogation process.

Civil society movements in Kinshasa have voiced their condemnation of what they describe as a “climate of terror” and security service threats targeting activists. Some have resorted to living in hiding, while others have fled the country recently, fearing for their safety.

Earlier on Monday, their lawyer, Jean-Claude Katende, was denied access to the ANR premises to provide legal assistance to his clients. They were deprived of visitation rights and legal counsel, according to their attorney, who decried the illegality of the interrogation process.

Civil society movements in Kinshasa have voiced their condemnation of what they describe as a “climate of terror” and security service threats targeting activists. Some have resorted to living in hiding, while others have fled the country recently, fearing for their safety.

Soukaina Sghir

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