Faustin Munene, pictured on the far right in 1998, was arrested in Gabon for attempting to stage a coup against the Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila. By ISSOUF SANOGO (AFP/File)
Democratic Republic of Congo’s former military chief, who has been accused by Kinshasa of an attempted coup against President Joseph Kabila in 2011, has been arrested in Gabon, sources told AFP.
“General Faustin Munene has been arrested since Wednesday, January 10… in Gabon,” said a statement from a party created by Munene, the Convention of the People for Progress and Democracy party (CPPD), on Tuesday.
The information was confirmed to AFP by a judicial official in the eastern province of Haut-Ogooue.
“Faustin Munene was arrested in Moanda and is in the hands of the DGDI in Libreville,” the Gabonese capital, the official said, referring to the General Directorate for Documentation and Immigration, as the Gabonese intelligence agency is officially called.
The source said further details about the arrest were unclear, and it was unknown whether General Munene would be extradited to the DRC.
The Gabonese foreign and interior ministries did not confirm the arrest.
Munene was deputy interior minister and chief of the DRC’s armed forces under Kabila’s father, Laurent-Desire Kabila.
He is accused of being behind an attack on February 27, 2011, on Kabila’s home and on a military camp. Eleven assailants and eight soldiers died.
He also allegedly carried out an attempted coup in the western province of Bandundu in 2010 for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia.
Kabila, 46, has been in power since 2001, succeeding his assassinated father at the age of 29.
He is at the helm of a regime widely criticised for corruption, repression and incompetence.
His constitutional term in office expired in December 2016, but he stayed on — a move that stoked a bloody spiral of violence.
Under an agreement brokered by the Roman Catholic church, he was allowed to stay in office provided new elections were held in 2017. The date has since been postponed, to December 23 this year.
The DRC authorities have previously fallen out with the Republic of Congo over Munene.
In March 2011, the DRC recalled its ambassador to Congo, accusing Brazzaville of providing Munene with a safe haven and of failing to extradite him after he was arrested in Pointe-Noire.
AFP was not immediately able to confirm when Munene arrived in Gabon. The province of Haut-Ogooue abuts the Republic of Congo — the two countries have a joint border than runs nearly 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles).