DRC: Opposition figure Chérubin Okende assassinated, a probe ordered

DRC: Opposition figure Chérubin Okende assassinated, a probe ordered

Chérubin Okende, a former minister and ally of presidential candidate Moise Katumbi, was found dead Thursday in capital Kinshasa in what the opposition branded an assassination, few months ahead from presidential elections.

Video shared on social media on Thursday purported to show the bullet-ridden body of Cherubin Okende in his car.

The 61-year man was spokesman of Ensemble pour la République, the party of Moise Katumbi, a leading opposition politician who is set to contest the presidential election in December.

“It’s a political assassination,” Katumbi told French radio broadcaster RFI, without elaborating. “They want to reduce us to silence,” he said, calling for independent investigations into what he described as an “odious crime.”

The party said that the former Transports minister was kidnapped from the parking lot of the Constitutional Court in Kinshasa.

The office of President Félix Tshisekedi said Okende had died in “tragic circumstances” and it urged an investigation to “shed full light on the matter and punish those responsible for this despicable act.”

Government spokesman Patrick Muyaya likewise tweeted that “the government was shocked to learn of the assassination” and that it had ordered a probe.

The assassination comes in a tense political context ahead of the December elections with several of the leading opposition figures, including Katumbi, insisting that the nation’s electoral authority is planning a fraudulent poll.

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