The human faces of the
Congolese 20: 20 victims of a massive scam and kidnapping by South African undercover police. SJ Dodgson. MJoTA 2013 v6n1 p0524
I have been writing about the indictments, incarceration and
court hearings of the Congolese 20.
I need to introduce you to them. I have
seen most of them in Pretoria Central Prison, I have spoken with their
relatives and friends, and yet I have not introduced them to you.
Every one of
these men is alive, living in a small cell in the institution that once housed Nelson Mandela. Every one is given oatmeal for breakfast, and has a story, has family.
Not a single one of these men has
a criminal record, not a single one has any military training.
Congolese are by
geography and nature peaceful. They come from a rich, lush country in
Central Africa, a country that was a safe harbor for many refugees during times of apartheid in South
Africa, during times of war in Angola and Nigeria.
The first man is Chadrian Kabuka Lubagaba Kilele. He is a
short active man with 6 children from a wife and an ex- wife, who ran an
internet café with his brother, Pastor Jules Kilele, who tells me he is watched, constantly has threatening phone calls, and believes the South African undercover police scammers are getting ready to arrest him. The second man in prison, Mukiti
Kilele, is another brother.
Pastor Jules has himself a wife and 4
children; since Chadrian was arrested he has had to shut down the internet café
and sell the computers. He told me yesterday that Chadrian’s family has had
their electricity shut off. Chadrian
was the first contact of the undercover South African police officers who
scammed and kidnapped 19 Congolese men in order to trap the 20th
man, Etienne Kabila. I have written about this previously.
The third incarcerated man of the Congolese 20 is Patrick Lunula Masikini, who ran a
successful construction business in Johannesburg. In their nearly 20 years in
South Africa, Patrick and his wife Adeline have produced 4 sons, and then a
daughter 2 months before his arrest. Adeline faithfully travels every week to
Pretoria Central prison, with her little daughter Princess Annette. Patrick and
Adeline own 2 houses, and were preparing to build a cottage. Now Adeline has
one house up for sale, and scrapes together money for food by selling
cosmetics. Adeline looks far too young to be the mother of 5, I traveled with her on Tuesday to see the men in prison and she said that when she brought with her her 2nd son, who is 14, the guard said this young man certainly was not the son of this small girl. However, nothing small girl about Adeline. She is the spokesman for the wives, and she believes she is also a target for arrest because of her weekly visits to her husband.
Patrick was the first man recruited by Chadrian: they both believed
the South African undercover police scammers who claimed to have funds to pay them to recruit
and set up an anti-rhino-poaching training camp.
The fourth man is Congolese-born American James Kazongo,
whom Chadrian contacted through the internet, and convinced him to travel to
South Africa at his own expense in order to accept the more-than-generous
payments from the South African undercover police scammers. James has a wife, Janine, whom he met in
Paris in 1995, brought back to his home in Philadelphia. After their first son
Michael was born in 2002, James bought Janine a lovely house in Delaware, where
2 more sons were born: Matthew and Maxim. After James’ arrest, their ownership
of the house has become tenuous. They have not paid the mortgage for some
months, and their car has been repossessed. Led by Angola Nova president Salomon Lumbo, members
of the Philadelphia African communities have been bringing Janine and the boys
food, and have helped her access free social services.
The 5th man is Etienne Kabila, who claims to be,
and is reported to be, the son of the late President Laurent Desire Kabila. The
late president holds a strong place in the hearts of many Congolese refugees I
have spoken with, who have told me the current president of Congo, Joseph Kabila,
stole the 2011 elections, is really Rwandan, and is not Laurent’s son. I have
no idea whether any of this is true, or what it means. However, from all the
evidence, this massive scam by the South African undercover policemen was to
catch Etienne Kabila.
The arrest of Etienne Kabila is an even greater
miscarriage of justice than the arrest of all the rest, if that is possible.
Etienne Kabila was asked to travel 2,000 km from Capetown to Johannesburg
twice; after the second time he refused to have any more contact with the undercover
South African police scammers.
After that, in early Sep 2012, the undercover
South African police scammers changed their story from wanting to help
Congolese refugees, to wanting to set up an anti-rhino-poaching training camp.
Even as the amount of money promised for participation in setting up this camp
climbed from USD30,000 to USD450,000 in Jan 2013, Etienne Kabila continued to
I understand from the accounts told to me, the undercover South
African police scammers believed that Etienne Kabila was one of the 19
they kidnapped in Limpopo, not knowing until then that James Kazongo
had been substituted for Etienne Kabila. And the South African
undercover police scammers’ plan to shoot dead the 19 was foiled, because the trap set to
catch Etienne Kabila had not caught him. Hastily another plan was hatched: to
charge the 19 with plotting a coup, bring in international press to show to the
world how South Africa will not tolerate any coup-plotters or
weapons-traffickers, and demand the surrender of Etienne Kabila. Which he did.
The fact that Etienne Kabila is still alive is wonderful. May he live a long
The other 15 men are men who mostly worked as security
guards after coming to South Africa. They all have families. The 2 youngest men
are in their 20s; the others are mostly in their 40s. They all were told they
were needed as security guards for the anti-rhino-poaching training camp, and
after they had done what was needed, would be given USD2,500 in cash and a
certificate of competency. The names of the other 15 are
Simon Mbuyi Mukuna,
James Jacob Mapimi
David Muyembe Bakajika
Alain Yoka Maniema
Eric Zabinga Muboto