Laurent Kabila DR Congo Frees Soldiers Linked To Assassination

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Laurent Kabila DR Congo Frees Soldiers Linked To Assassination

Twenty-three soldiers accused of being behind the assassination of former president of Democratic Republic of Congo have been released after spending nearly two decades behind bars.

Laurent Kabila was shot dead by a bodyguard in 2001. A military trial that followed jailed dozens of soldiers, including Col Eddy Kapend, his personal aide.

Rights groups criticised the trial.

Some in DR Congo believe the soldiers were used as scapegoats.

There has been much speculation about who gave the orders for Kabila’s assassination, including suggestions that foreign powers were involved, as it came at a time when several neighbouring countries were involved in the conflict in DR Congo.

The soldiers’ release follows pardons issued by President FĂ©lix Tshisekedi who took over from Joseph Kabila, the son of the late president, two years ago.

Mr Kabila repeatedly resisted calls to pardon the prisoners – 11 of whom died whilst in custody.

‘Filled with joy’

https://www.bbc.com

The release comes amid a power struggle between President Tshisekedi and his predecessor, who continues to wield considerable influence in the country.

Mr Tshisekedi ended his coalition with Mr Kabila’s party – which holds a majority in parliament – following years of tension.

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The president is currently seeking new coalition partners that would give him a majority in parliament.

Families and supporters of the soldiers gathered outside Makala prison in the capital, Kinshasa, to celebrate their freedom, the BBC’s Elodie Toto reports.

“We are filled with joy because after 20 years… he comes out with dignity,” Franck Irung Kapend, the son of Col Kapend, told our reporter.

Laurent Kabila DR Congo Frees Soldiers Linked To Assassination

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