DRC: Jean-Jacques Wondo was expected in Brussels to give lessons at the Royal Military School

DRC: Jean-Jacques Wondo was expected in Brussels to give lessons at the Royal Military School

A shower of criticism on Belgian diplomatic action in Kinshasa.

“Foreign Affairs is following the Wondo file very closely”explains a spokesperson for the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who refuses to make any further comments.

Jean-Jacques Wondo, graduate of the Royal Military School of Brussels (ERM) holds a master's degree in criminology from the University of Liège and a post-graduate in political science from the Free University of Brussels, author of several works on the Congolese army, is one of the best specialists in Congolese and African military issues. Of Belgian nationality, he had accepted a consultancy mission with the head of the civil intelligence services (ANR), another graduate of the ERM, colonel-doctor Lusadusu.

DRC: A Belgian behind bars following the “coup d’état” in Kinshasa

On Tuesday, May 21, the day after an armed adventure led by a handful of unseasoned men who targeted the home of the future president of the National Assembly, Vital Kamerhe, before attacking the Palace of the Nation, empty in the middle of the night, Jean Jacques Wondo was first arrested by the head of internal security of the ANR.

DRC: extrajudicial executions after attempted coup. “In time of war, this amounts to a war crime”:

Jean-Jacques Wondo is heard following a photo which shows him in the company of the “mastermind” of the “coup d’état”, Christian Malanga. “A photo from 2016”explains Joël Kandolo, the spokesperson for Jean-Jacques Wondo’s family.

“This arrest will take place without the general director being aware,” explains a Congolese politician who emphasizes “ the tensions that reign in this service and in general between this service and military intelligence. Tensions which will culminate, on May 31, in the dismissal of Colonel Lusadusu, replaced, as we suggested on May 24, by Justin Inzun, who had held this position from March 2019 to December 2021.

DRC: Six months after the assassination of Chérubin Okende, Congolese justice is walled in silence

On the way to Brussels

Released on Wednesday morning, Jean-Jacques Wondo prepares to take an Ethiopian Airlines flight early in the afternoon towards Addis Ababa then Brussels, where he is expected on Thursday to give a course, “planned for many months”, at the ERM, according to a member of the establishment.

Before takeoff, he is invited to introduce himself to the City of the African Union, in Kinshasa, the place where the current President of the Republic Félix Fshisekedi has settled. “It’s a quick exchange ” And “additional information”, explains a member of the services. Jean Jacques Wondo will never arrive at the airport. He was arrested and transferred to Ndolo military prison where he is still detained almost two weeks later.

“He was able to speak with his lawyer”, explains another member of his family. Contacts with a Belgian representative? “No comment”, responds Foreign Affairs. “In Kinshasa, nothing is simple”explains a European diplomat. “Belgium tried to visit him but was unable to enter. For the Congolese, the accused is not Belgian, which is obviously not the truth but it is enough to prevent contact with your embassy if it proves too docile.”

“It’s a right that is violated,” continues a Congolese lawyer who hopes that “Belgium will not let this happen and will not abandon one of its compatriots.” For another jurist, “ It is obvious that the very notion of equality between Belgians is being trampled on in this matter. Would Wondo be less Belgian because he is of Congolese origin? It's shocking “.

“We feel abandoned”

In the Belgian community of Kinshasa, the unease is palpable. “They will not dare to challenge Tshisekedi and all his securocrats, most of whom are of Belgian nationality”explains one of our compatriots based in Kinshasha, who expresses his anger towards “ of the information provided by the embassy during this pseudo coup d'état. I think the Belgians were the last to know. We received two text messages from the embassy at 2:48 p.m. even though everything had been over for hours. It's really not serious.”.

The grievances are numerous, some recall the “questionable suicide” from a Belgian electoral expert, LD, on December 23 or 24, “ depending on the scenarios and in the midst of electoral chaos. Belgium did not seek to investigate. She closed the file and accepted the suicide scenario presented by the Congolese justice system”, explains another Belgian from Kinshasa. A Congolese lawyer, regularly passing through our country, recalls the file of passport sequestration “of one of my colleagues from the Brussels Bar who was stuck for more than 500 days in Kinshasa. The previous Belgian ambassador did not intervene, considering that it was a private matter. A real scandal. My colleague finally received a new passport but Belgium never demanded the return of the old one. Belgium is playing a strange game with respect to the Congolese authorities, as with the expert sent as part of the investigation into another strange suicide, that of the opponent Chérubin Okende. It has been 9 months to the day since this expert submitted her report but it remains invisible. Has Belgium really committed to not disclosing it as some say? »

DRC: The story of a Belgian lawyer’s passport lost in… a closed drawer

An 82-year-old Belgian in Makala

Another case mentioned quietly, that of this 82-year-old Belgian, FD, born in November 1941 in Nivelles and detained for 9 years in Makala prison. “He should have been free for over a year, explains a Congolese who helps him. “He is sick, he can barely stand, he has difficulty seeing. It is completely abandoned. Something must be done quickly for him, explains one of these classmates contacted inside the prison this Tuesday, who attached a photo of FD in his message.