Early on the morning of June 2, Mr. Chebeya, Congo’s best-known human rights activist, was found dead in his car in the Mont Ngafula area of this capital city, his hands tied behind his back. The Congo police inspector general had summoned him for questioning the afternoon before.
“I’m in front of the office,” Mr. Chebeya said in a text message to his wife at 5:20. “Keep track of me,” said his message sent two minutes later. That was the last she heard from him. She later received a message from his phone, but said she is certain it was not from her husband.
Now, more than three weeks later, the “Chebeya Affair,” as his killing has become known, continues to be told day after day on the front pages of Kinshasa’s newspapers. His death touched off an outcry that has not stopped, here or abroad. The United Nations secretary general said he was “deeply shocked” by Mr. Chebeya’s death, and the United States, European Union and French governments expressed concern and called for an independent inquiry.
The police inspector general, John Numbi, one of the most powerful men in the government of President Joseph Kabila, has been suspended. Officials have announced investigations, several officers have been arrested, and Interior Minister Adolphe Lumanu announced on national television that Mr. Kabila was “determined” to get to the bottom of Mr. Chebeya’s death. No cause of death has been released, and no charges have been filed, according to Human Rights Watch.
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