March 8, 2020 / 8:38 AM / 5 months ago

Congolese president says army spy chief died by hanging

Congo's President Felix Antoine Tshilombo Tshisekedi sits before addressing the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi said the death of the country’s top army spy last month was apparently due to hanging, but he did not spell out whether the military intelligence chief had killed himself.

General Delphin Kahimbi’s death on Feb. 28 followed media reports that he was being investigated for allegedly seeking to destabilise the country. At the time, his wife said he had suffered a heart attack.

At a weekly cabinet meeting on Friday, Tshisekedi said the United Nations peacekeeping force had asked him to conduct an independent investigation into Kahimbi’s death.

He told ministers the available evidence pointed to death by hanging, according to the minutes of the meeting.

The general was appointed by former President Joseph Kabila, and his successor as head of state, Tshisekedi, had been under pressure from the United States to hold Kahimbi to account for alleged human rights abuses.

Kahimbi was under European Union sanctions for alleged abuses committed when he commanded operations against rebels in east Democratic Republic of Congo in the 2000s and during his tenure as military intelligence chief.

Reporting by Stanis Bujakera; Writing by Hereward Holland; Editing by Alessandra Prentice and Helen Popper

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