Although the Congo's Kivu region is well-known for its violence, recent scandals with the government's security forces show that the country's problems go beyond that region.
There have been several scandals in the Congo over the past month that have gone more or less unreported by the foreign press but that have had a large impact domestically, all involving abuses by the security forces.
First the Armand Tungulu affair. Tungulu was a Congolese who had been living in Belgium for many years. He returned home and was arrested on Sept. 29 for throwing rocks at a presidential motorcade. On Oct. 2, the government announced his death, saying he had committed suicide with a pillow in his jail cell – this provoked outrage, as there was little motive for a suicide and because Congolese prisons are not known for their pillows.
The Congolese government proceeded to arrest witnesses of Tungulu's arrest and defy a Belgian court, which ruled on Oct. 11 that Kinshasa would have to return Tungulu to Belgium or pay 25,000 euros a day in damages. Other countries, including the United States, joined in voicing their concern. The inimitable Minister of Information Lambert Mende castigated the Belgian court and government for interfering in the affairs of a sovereign country.
This has all had more of an impact on the population of Kinshasa than the recent news from the Kivus. All the more surprising that the Tungulu's family in Kinshasa (his widow lives in Belgium) would drop their suit against the Congolese government this past week; many suspect pressure from the Congolese government.