A human rights activist and former
presidential candidate has been
arrested by the Congolese government
for allegedly trying to foment rebellion
in the troubled eastern province
of the vast African nation.
Human rights campaigners have
condemned the arrest.
human rights activist Firmin Yangabi
was arrested last Wednesday
by military police as he tried to organize
an arms shipment from the capital Kinshasa
to the eastern town of Kisangani.
Yangabi, a candidate for Congo's 2006
presidential elections, is accused
of trying to provoke insurrection
in the country's volatile eastern province.
Lambert Mende, spokesman for
the Congolese government, says
military police arrested Firmin Yangabi,
president of the human rights group
Peace on Earth, last Wednesday.
He says Yangabi was moving a shipment
of weapons from Kinshasha to Kisangani
with the aim of fomenting rebellion
in the east of the country.
Yangabi was brought to Kinshasa
on Sunday where he will stand
before a military tribunal.
Mende did not comment on the arms
or the groups involved, saying
the case is a matter for the justice system.
On 24 July, the human rights activist
Golden Misabiko was arrested and
imprisoned for questioning mining practices
at the Shinkolobwe uranium mine
in the southern Katanga province.
Misabiko was charged with
'threatening state security' for publishing
a report denouncing a government deal
with French nuclear power firm Areva.
A 2004 United Nations assessment
said the Shinkolobwe mine should
remain closed due to a high risk
of mine collapses and
potential exposure to radiation.
Mende says human rights groups are
using wordy phraseology to cover up
their criminal activities.
He says Yangabi's case is similar to
the Shinkolobwe mine case where
human rights groups published
false reports about the government.
U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton
asked President Joseph Kabila about
the Misabiko arrest during her visit
to the eastern city of Goma in August.
Congolese Foreign Minister Alexis
Kinshasa's human rights record
as a rare example in Africa where
there is liberty and freedom of the press.
The International human rights group,
Global Witness, have condemned
the arrests and called
for all charges to be dropped.
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