The Congolese government has commenced investigations into circumstances under which the deputy chief of staff of the army in charge of military intelligence, Gen Delphin Kahimbi, died.
Kahimbi, a close relative of former president Joseph Kabila, was found dead at a hospital in the capital Kinshasa on Friday morning.
Some reports suggest Kahimbi committed suicide by shooting himself but an investigation is being established to rule out external factors.
The deceased was among the most powerful generals in DRC.
He wielded immense power and influence during Kabila’s reign and until recently under Tshisekedi.
Kahimbi previously served as the deputy army commander of the North Kivu Military Region, a position that allowed him battle rebels loyal to Gen Laurent Nkunda.
He physically commanded specialized military operations in Kiwanja and Rutshuru area against the Nkunda’s National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) rebel group,
Upon taking power last year, Tshisekedi kept Kahimbi as chief of military intelligence.
Kahimbi, however, was on February 20 arrested and suspended from his duties to pave way for an internal investigation.
ChimpReports understands Kahimbi was suspected of being involved in acts of subversion.
It is reported he was involved in the concealment of an illegally acquired cache of arms, claims that were yet to be proven by the internal investigation.
The departed general was recently sanctioned by the European Union for serious human rights abuses in Congo, including involvement in arbitrary arrests, torture, and ill-treatment of detainees.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) says as coordinator of the pre-disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process for combatants, Kahimbi alongside other officials failed to provide adequate food and health care to demobilized combatants, their wives, and children in a remote military camp in Congo in 2014.
Over 100 of them died there from starvation and disease.
“More recently, as commander of military intelligence, Kahimbi has been implicated in arbitrary arrests, detention, and mistreatment in Kinshasa in the context of repression against the political opposition and others,” said HRW.
The incident comes just a fortnight after former powerful Administrator General of the Congolese National Intelligence Agency Kalev Mutond was arrested by the General Directorate of Migration at Nd’jili airport in Kinshasa.
Mutondo was arrested after he returned from Addis Ababa aboard Ethiopia Airlines.
He was briefly detained at the General Headquarters of Migration.