A self-styled prophet has been arrested by police in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a shoot-out in a residential neighbourhood of the capital, Kinshasa.
“Mission accomplished, it’s done,” the force tweeted after staking out and capturing Ne Muanda Nsemi.
He is the leader of an outlawed group called Bundu Dia Kongo (BDK) that wants to revive the ancient Kongo kingdom.
The arrest comes a week after deadly clashes between BDK members and police.
At least 20 people are said to have died in those in attacks in Kongo Central province, which borders Kinshasa.
DR Congo’s human rights minister has appealed to the military prosecutor to open an investigation into the killings.
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Police seeking to arrest Msemi sealed off part of Kinshasa’s Sakomi district from the early hours of Thursday.
At one point there was a 45-minute exchange of gunfire, the BBC’s Emery Makumeno in Kinshasa reports.
AFP quotes a police source as saying several BDK members were found inside the house and that many people had died in the raid.
When officers seized Msemi and drove him away in a police vehicle, relieved residents sang their praises and taunted Bundu Dia Kongo’s leader.
“Who are you to defy Kasongo?” they chanted, referring to Kinshasa’s police chief Sylvano Kasongo.
Nsemi, a former MP, is a thorn in the side of DR Congo’s political establishment.
The Bundu Dia Kongo movement is campaigning to restore a monarchy in parts of DR Congo, Congo-Brazzaville, Angola and Gabon.
It has also been calling for people of non-Bakongo ethnicity to leave the Kongo Central province.
In 2017, Nsemi was arrested and held in jailed after police him of inciting violence. But armed supporters stormed the prison and freed him.
Two years later, he was granted a presidential pardon.
Who is Ne Muanda Nsemi?
- Former chemistry professor at the University of Kinshasa
- Comes from the minority Bakongo ethnic group
- Claims to have received a revelation from the “Archangel of the Kongo” in 1969
- Formed the Bundu Dia Kongo (BDK) movement in 1986
- Wants to re-establish the ancient Kongo kingdom that once straddled four modern-day states
- Supporters and security forces involved in violent clashes
- Elected to parliament in 2006 as an independent
- Formed the Bundu Dia Mayala political party in 2010 after BDK banned
- Arrested in March after security forces besiege his home for two weeks
- Escaped from jail in May 2017
- Granted a presidential pardon in 2019