Tanzania hands over Congolese rebel for prosecution

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A renegade Congolese colonel who had threatened to depose President Joseph Kabila has been extradited from Tanzania and will be prosecuted for rebellion, Congo’s defense minister told reporters on Monday.

In a video circulated on social media last month, John Tshibangu, who had been based in the east of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), gave the president a 45-day ultimatum to leave or “we are going to take Kabila down”.

But Tshibangu was then detained by authorities in Tanzania toward the end of last month.

“John Tshibangu is in Kinshasa. We are going to leave him to face justice for rebellion, a crime catered for and punished by the Congolese penal code,” Defence Minister Crispin Atama Tabe told Reuters by text message.

Tshibangu used to be a military commander in the central Congolese region of Kasai. He defected in 2012 and moved to the lawless east on a long haunt of would-be Congolese rebels.

Kabila’s refusal to step down when his mandate expired in December 2016 has emboldened several armed groups, fuelling violence and raising the prospect of the vast, mineral-rich nation sliding back into the kind of wars that killed millions in the 1990s, mostly from hunger and disease.

Titi