Blinken concerned over detention of Congo opposition figure

Aug 9, 2022, 11:39 PM | Updated: Aug 10, 2022, 11:49 am
Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he boards his plane at N'Djili International Airport in ...

Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he boards his plane at N'Djili International Airport in Kinshasa, Congo, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, to travel to Rwanda. Blinken is on a ten day trip to Cambodia, Philippines, South Africa, Congo, and Rwanda. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday said he was “concerned” about reports of the detention of an opposition political leader in Congo.

On the second day of his visit to the central African nation, Blinken said his delegation was “trying to get more facts” about the opposition figure’s detention which he said had happened “in the last 24 hours.” Blinken said his delegation had raised the issue with Congo’s government and he called it a “possible setback” in establishing “the right environment” for elections.

“We have full respect for the laws of the DRC (Congo) but we are concerned about any steps taken that could actually reduce the political space, especially as the country heads into elections,” Blinken said.

The secretary of state was speaking at an event promoting democracy in Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, as part of his three-nation African tour.

Jean-Marc Kabund, the former vice president of the National Assembly and former ally of President Felix Tshisekedi, was placed under provisional detention Tuesday following his interrogation by the prosecutor general, according to his lawyer. He is being investigated for making public insults and harmful accusations that were of offense to the president, local reports said.

Kabund has was ousted as vice president of the National Assembly and head of Tshisekedi’s party earlier this year for criticizing the president. Kabund then formed his own party.

Also on Wednesday, Blinken met with Congo’s Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde for discussions that included Congo’s security, economy and environment.

Blinken also hosted guests including Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Denis Mukwege at the U.S. Embassy.

Before leaving for Rwanda, his third and final stop in Africa, Blinken reiterated the United States’ willingness and availability to work with Congo on the issues discussed.

“The agenda that we have on various topics, whether it’s food security issues, whether it’s climate preservation issues, whether it’s the work we do together to support democracy, to help to restore peace and security in (Congo’s) East … All these subjects demonstrate both the depth and the importance of our relations. We are delighted to be able to work together,” Blinken said.

While Blinken was in Congo, the U.S. State Department announced the allocation of up to $23.75 million to support the country’s general elections scheduled for 2023. The funding is to support the electoral system, improve civic and voter education, and help marginalized communities to understand and participate in the political process, said a statement.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

People protest asking for the restoration of the electrical service that collapsed last Tuesday due...
Associated Press

Cubans protest in Havana for 2nd night over lack of power

HAVANA (AP) — Groups of Cubans protested Friday night in the streets of Havana for a second night, decrying delays in fully restoring electricity three days after Hurricane Ian knocked out power across the island. A foreign monitoring group reported that Cuba’s internet service shut down for the second time in two days, saying it […]
21 hours ago
The flame of a gas burner helps inflate a hot air balloon as part of a re-enactment of the first Al...
Associated Press

Annual hot air balloon festival draws global audience to US

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Hundreds of hot air balloons are scheduled to lift off Saturday morning, marking the start of an annual fiesta that has drawn pilots and spectators from across the globe to New Mexico’s high desert for 50 years now. As one of the most photographed events in the world, the Albuquerque International […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: October 1, Las Vegas shooting kills 58

Today in History Today is Saturday, Oct. 1, the 274th day of 2022. There are 91 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Oct. 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire from a room at the Mandalay Bay casino hotel in Las Vegas on a crowd of 22,000 country music fans at a […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Tesla robot walks, waves, but doesn’t show off complex tasks

DETROIT (AP) — An early prototype of Tesla Inc.’s proposed Optimus humanoid robot slowly and awkwardly walked onto a stage, turned, and waved to a cheering crowd at the company’s artificial intelligence event Friday. But the basic tasks by the robot with exposed wires and electronics — as well as a later, next generation version […]
21 hours ago
Photo from Flickr...
Associated Press

Washington kills 2 wolves to prevent preying on cattle

Biologists working for Washington have killed two members of the Leadpoint wolf pack this week in an effort to stop the pack from preying on cattle
21 hours ago
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, right, Democratic challenger and state lawmaker Jamie Smith, center,...
Associated Press

Governor debate: Noem for abortion ban, Smith wants changes

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem indicated Friday during her reelection campaign’s lone debate with her Democratic challenger, state lawmaker Jamie Smith, that if reelected she will uphold the state’s abortion ban that provides no exceptions for rape or incest. The Republican governor explained her position simply as “pro-life,” while pledging […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Blinken concerned over detention of Congo opposition figure