Former VP Jean Pierre Bemba expected in DR Congo

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Former DR Congo vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba, acquitted last month of war crimes, is set to return to the country on Wednesday morning ahead of end-year elections.

The president of the Mouvement de Libération du Congo (MLC) left Brussels (Belgium) on Tuesday evening 31 July for Kinshasa by a direct flight Brussels-Kinshasa, report said.

While the MLC noted that they have secured permission for the plane to land in Kinshasa, the party secretary general said they failed to agree on the route Bemba should take after touching down.

The MLC invites the Congolese people, especially the Kinois (Kinshasa inhabitants) to give him a warm, peaceful and enthusiastic welcome.

“The MLC invites the Congolese people, especially the Kinois (Kinshasa inhabitants) to give him a warm, peaceful and enthusiastic welcome,” the party said on Monday.

The MLC on Friday named Bemba its candidate for planned December 23 presidential polls after the government said he could apply for a diplomatic passport to return home after he was acquitted of war crimes in The Hague.

It will be the first time Bemba steps on Congolese soil after nearly 12 years in Europe, 10 of which were spent jailed at the International Criminal Court.

Sentenced to 18 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Central African Republic, the former vice-president successfully appealed his conviction and was acquitted on 8 June.

Hauwa Mustapha