Tens of thousands welcome DRC’s Jean-Pierre Bemba ahead of election
After a decade in prison Bemba returns to submit his candidacy for December’s presidential election
Kinshasa — Tens of thousands of cheering supporters greeted opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba on Wednesday as he returned to Democratic Republic of Congo after a decade in prison to submit his candidacy for December’s presidential election. Bemba, a former vice-president and warlord whose war crimes convictions at the International Criminal Court in The Hague were quashed on appeal in May, is expected to pose a stiff challenge to President Joseph Kabila or his preferred successor. After touching down aboard a private jet at Kinshasa’s N’Djili airport, Bemba shook hands with family members and officials from his MLC party. Throngs of people — many in T-shirts, hats and scarves bearing his likeness — lined the streets and peered down from pedestrian overpasses to catch a glimpse of him. Police fired teargas near the airport and in the area of Limite as they tried to clear the road, witnesses said.
Bemba was due to attend mass later on Wednesday and file his candidacy with the ...