DRC: disturbances in Kinshasa during the return of Jean-Pierre Bemba

The aircraft of the former vice-president of the Democratic Republic of Congo landed at 9:25 am local time at Kinshasa airport on Wednesday, August 1, 2018.

Jean-Pierre Bemba then set foot on Congolese soil, after eleven years of absence.

Disturbances took place shortly after he left the airport and the former vice president was speedily led to his party headquarters.

The crossing of Kinshasa was made at a brisk pace by Jean-Pierre Bemba for his return.

Shortly after leaving the airport, as trouble broke out, his police-driven vehicle was seen setting off at an unknown destination.

Finally, he reappeared moments later at his party headquarters.

Previously, his supporters came to welcome him at Kinshasa International Airport on Wednesday.

Upon his descent from the private jet that brought him back from Brussels, Jean-Pierre Bemba said he was “very happy to be here”, the features visibly pulled by the trip, while embracing one by one the relatives who came to welcome.

Access to the tarmac was reserved for a very small circle of relatives. Some, including his sister, the MP Francoise Bemba, had to elbows to cross the cordon and get to the foot of the plane.

The former vice-president was accompanied by his wife and their children.

His party publicly declared in a statement “the abuse suffered by Jean-Pierre Bemba on his return.”

According to the MLC, “the political authorities have banned him from receiving a welcome at the foot of the plane and finally he was not allowed to access the family residence in the municipality of Gombe, because it is a presidential perimeter.”

Jean-Pierre Bemba has announced his intention to run for the presidential election scheduled for December 23.

He has until August 8 to submit his candidacy file to the Electoral Commission. An approach that he could only do in person, not being, after his detention at the ICC outside the Congolese territory, enlisted on the electoral lists.

“It is a great joy,” Pierrette Bemba, mother of Jean-Pierre Bemba said.

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