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Jean-Pierre Bemba Returns to DR Congo

Radio Okapi | Published on August 01, 2018
Senator Bemba surrounded by supporters in Kinshasa on August 1, 2018
Senator Bemba surrounded by supporters in Kinshasa on August 1, 2018 | Enlarge
Senator Jean-Pierre Bemba returned to DR Congo on Wednesday, August 1. He arrived at the N’djili airport shortly after 9:30am.

“I’m happy to be back in my country,” Senator Bemba told reporters.

Surrounded by the police, his convoy left the airport around 11am, with cheering fans singing songs in his honor. Authorities had decreed that Senator Bemba's car should not drive at less than 40 km/h. They also prohibited Senator Bemba from staying in the family residence located in the Gombe neighborhood on the grounds that it would be in the “presidential perimeter”, the secretary general secretary of the MLC, Eve Bazaiba, denounced in a statement.

Police used tear gas to clear the road completely blocked by supporters of Jean-Pierre Bemba near the Matete Bridge, without casualties, according to witnesses.

“My dear compatriots. After a decade of absence, I am on my way to the land of my ancestors, my homeland the Democratic Republic of Congo. I look forward to meeting you there this Wednesday, August 1, 2018,” tweeted the former leader of the rebel Movement for the Liberation of Congo tweeted when he boarded a flight for Kinshasa during the night on Tuesday in Brussels, Belgium.

Senator Bemba was acquitted in early June of charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for which he was provisionally detained for 10 years by the International Criminal Court.

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