FECL 42 (March 1996):


On 29 February, 63 Zairians subject to deportation measures in France, Germany and the Netherlands were put on a plane chartered by the three governments. At Kinshasa-Ndjiili airport, they were awaited by the Mobutu regime's various secret services. The Zairian humanitarian organisation, La Voix des sans Voix, witnessed the deportees' arrival.


In France, the deportation operation began two days earlier. At dawn, police in various parts of the country stormed the homes of Zairians subject to deportation orders and brought 40 people to Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, where they were detained in special units in the "extra-territorial" transit zone. A young woman who was arrested together with her three children aged six years, four years and five months said the police came at six in the morning. Her daughter was not allowed to put on her clothes and travelled in pyjamas, and the police prevented the family from taking with them their belongings or even money.

A further 13 deportees were brought to Roissy from Germany, and 10 from the Netherlands.


47 policemen escort 63 deportees

According to La Voix des sans Voix, the 63 deportees, including eight women and five children were escorted during the whole flight by a joint police force of 43 French, two Dutch and two German policemen, as well as a French doctor.

When the French Air Charter plane landed at Kinshasa airport, the runway was swarming with officers from the Zaire's Military Intelligence Service, SARM, the National Service for Intelligence and Protection (SNIP), the Gendarmerie, the Civil Guard, and President Mobutu's own secret service, DSP.

Among the persons gathering around the plane were the deputy chief of SNIP, German, French and Dutch diplomatic staff, and an official of the Dutch Ministry of Justice.

Zairian security then proceeded to mount "immigration control" inside the plane.

An incident occurred when a French policeman tried to take pictures of the deportees disembarking from the plane. His camera was seized by an officer of SNIP. The camera was later returned to its owner without the film.

The deportees from France told La Voix des sans Voix that they were badly treated by the escorting French policemen during the flight. Some deportees showed bruises. Some deportees said they were beaten up, an then immobilised with adhesive tape and handcuffs by policemen on the plane.

Mr Nfundu Mfwa Unu Wasolua, who was deported from Germany, is said to be held in a hospital. When leaving the plane at Kinshasa airport, he was unable to walk by himself and had to be assisted.

After leaving the plane, the deportees gathered in a waiting room, where the deputy chief of the SNIP's airport unit made a moralising speech. The SNIP official then allowed them to "go in freedom and return to their families".


Sources: Observation report of 'La Voix des sans Voix', Kinshasa, 1.3.96; Libération, 2/3.3.96.