The Congolese 20 were scammed and
kidnapped: most worked as security guards, one is a chef, one is
the first-born son of the late President Laurent Kabila, brother to President Joseph Kabila who maintains a house in Johannesburg, South Africa. SJ Dodgson. MJoTA 2013 v67n1
The capital city of South Africa, Pretoria is a half-hour
drive from Johannesburg, the most populous city in South Africa.
Most of the 20
Congolese on trial since Feb 5 work, live and go to church with their families
in Johannesburg. I went to a service this morning of Congolese refugees: great
music and huge optimism and faith in a country that took them in when their
country turned in on itself, only to turn around a decade or more later to
The news out of the Democratic Republic of Congo is
uniformly grim. Even the United Nations wants the situation, and those fighting for power, to change; Congo is a country that has been described by the United
Nations as the “rape capital of the world”.
In 2013, 2 white mischief makers descended on the Congolese
refugee community; promising that they had a solution to the severe human
rights issues inside Congo.
Human rights of Congolese refugees are being
violated in South Africa: Congolese are permitted inside South Africa but are
mostly denied the opportunities to work. Congolese physicians are welcomed: South Africa wants as many as they can get.
I have heard stories of the infamous
3-month work permits; issued on the same day of the month 4 times a year, for
4, 5, 7, even 12 years.
I believe the mischief makers had a plan to clean out
the Congolese refugee community in Johannesburg. That the imprisonment of the
Congolese 20 was the tip of the iceberg of a plan to send refugees back to Congo.
The 20 men were not highly educated; most had large families,
some had babies born within weeks of their Feb 5 arrest. Simple men who follow
orders. They believed the white mischief makers who told them they would be
paid to follow orders. They never heard anything about coups or overthrowing any government except from the police when they were arrested.
The first white mischief makers announced themselves as James
Jansen and Joe Bresher. They have vanished. As has the Congolese refugee who
brought the Congolese 20 to the white mischief makers, Carlos Nkuna. A third white mischief maker helped the other 2 kidnap the men on Feb 4, drive
them to Limpopo, steal their cell phones and threaten to shoot them to death
if they tried to escape.
The next morning they were rescued by South African
police, who, instead of understanding that the Congolese (who were 19 on that day) were victims of a financial
scam and a brutal kidnapping, arrested them and threw them in the worst jail in
South Africa. Plus Etienne Kabila, after he surrendered to South African police.
Pretoria Central Prison. The gates of hell. What a way to treat
hard-working citizens who were victims of a violent crime.
The Congolese 20 have compiled a statement that they sent to
President Obama: pleading for United States to understand the plight in South
Africa of refugees from Congo.
The statement talks at length about the squabbles
between the Kabila family that created this scam and kidnapping that has
rapidly destroyed the lives and health of the Congolese 20 and their
The statement talks about Etienne Kabila, and William Yakatumba,
who is not under arrest. The white mischief-makers
urged Carlos Nkuna, and the first 19 under arrest to bring them William
Yakatumba and Etienne Kabila.
The Congolese 20 believe that this whole scam
and kidnapping was aimed at delivering Yakatumba and Etienne Kabila to the
government of President Joseph Kabila.
The major questions the friends of the Congolese 20 has is
this: why have the white instigators of this scam and kidnapping not been
arrested or charged?