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DRC: Suspended spy chief Delphin Kahimbi found dead

By Romain Gras, Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala, in Kinshasa
Posted on Tuesday, 3 March 2020 07:33, updated on Thursday, 30 April 2020 16:45

An FARDC soldier near Beni, eastern DRC. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

The Congolese army deputy Chief of Staff in charge of military intelligence, died on Friday 28 February.

A relative of Joseph Kabila, Kahimbi had been suspended from his duties after being arrested on 20 February by the Directorate General of Migration.:

According to several sources within the National Security Council (CNS), General Delphin Kahimbi, FARDC Deputy Chief of Staff in charge of military intelligence, died on Friday at the 50th Anniversary Hospital in Kinshasa.

The information was confirmed to by the General’s wife, Brenda Kahimbi, as well as by several high-level security and political sources, who wished to remain anonymous. The cause of death is not yet known.

On Thursday 20 February, the Directorate General of Migration (DGM) questioned General Delphin Kahimbi as he was about to fly to South Africa.

READ Rwanda and the DRC get closer despite lingering tensions

Like Kalev Mutond — the former head of the National Intelligence Agency (ANR), who was arrested on 12 February —Kahimbi was accused of concealing weapons and attempting to destabilise the country.

The FARDC Deputy Chief of Staff was also suspected of having put the current government under surveillance.

Influential general under sanctions

After being questioned by the CNS, Kahimbi was “formally suspended” from his duties a few days later, and a formal presidential order was proceeding to make his removal official.

Contacted by on Thursday 27 February, Kahimbi denounced his dismissal as “a political affair that is being conducted remotely from the capitals run by the imperialists”.

Close to former president Joseph Kabila, who remained in office after Felix Tshisekedi came to power, Kahimbi continued to play a central role in the army.

The general had been in charge of negotiations on the conditions for the repatriation of former M23 combatants currently in Uganda and Rwanda.

In 2019, at the request of François Beya, Tshisekedi’s security adviser, he led two delegations to Kigali (in July and October) and another to Kampala (also in October).

The head of state had also entrusted him with the mission of convincing Rwandan, Ugandan, Burundian, and Tanzanian officials to create a regional coalition against the armed groups present in eastern DRC.

Civil society and several of the DRC’s international partners were critical of Kahimbi and other Congolese generals who were under sanction, remaining in office.

His dismissal, like that of two generals, Gabriel Amisi Kumba, aka “Tango Four”, and John Numbi, was one of the demands Washington. U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, J. Peter Pham, made behind the scenes during his visit to Kinshasa on 10 – 13 February.

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