Military surrounds Congo Republic opposition leader’s home

Congolese Army from presidential guards detains opposition leaders and opposition activists ahead of Sunday's referendum

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso

Congo forces from leader Denis Sassou Nguesso’s presidential guard surrounded opposition leader’s resident, detaining him alongside other three allies opposed to a referendum on extending the president term limits, the opposition leader said late on Thursday.

Guy Brice Parfait Kolelas, the opposition leader and a former minister who denounced the constitutional change in August, reported that around 50 soldiers arrived on Thursday morning at his Brazzaville resident in military jeeps and began patrolling the compound.

"The only explanation is that I told the president he is not allowed to change the constitution," Kolelas told Reuters by telephone from his house. "He is trying to control us, to neutralise us," he added.

Kolelas also said, Michel Mampouya, leader of opposition party PSVR and Andre Okombi Salissa, a dissident within the ruling PCT party were also detained. 

An important meeting between European Union diplomats, religious leaders and government officials designed to ease tension was canceled on Thursday because of the opposition’s absence.

A referendum scheduled to take place on Sunday will determine whether President Sassou Nguesso can legally extend his tenure in office ahead of next year’s election. The 71-year-old president, who has ruled for 31 of the previous 36 years, is recently forbidden from running as a result of his age and a constitutional term limits.  

Almost same tension happened in other African countries like Burundi and Burkina Faso where veteran leaders desired to extend their term limits, as mass protests this week escalated in Congo Republic, an oil-rich country where at least four people died as police opened fire against the protestors.  


TRTWorld and agencies