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Congo arrests opposition leader Kabund

A former right-hand man of Democratic Republic of Congo’s president and now opposition leader, Jean-Marc Kabund, was arrested, his lawyer said, during controversy over a remark about his onetime boss.

The former vice president of parliament and current lawmaker had a falling out with President Felix Tshisekedi earlier this year, after which he launched his own political party.

He has been under investigation in recent weeks on charges that authorities have not specified.

His lawyers say he is accused of contempt of the head of state after a speech calling him “a danger”.

Kabund’s lawyer Henriette Bongwalanga said he was arrested on Tuesday after a hearing at the attorney general’s office.

“They did not respect the procedure. Today they came after the hearing and (arrested) him despite his (parliamentary) immunity,” she said.

The justice ministry could not be reached for comment and a spokesperson for the government declined to comment.

A police source said Kabund had been taken to Makala Central Prison in Congo’s capital Kinshasa.

Kabund was a leading figure behind Tshisekedi’s rise to power and their fallout has highlighted emerging fault-lines in the country’s leadership. This could spell uncertainty for the future of the ruling Sacred Union coalition as the 2023 presidential election nears, political analysts have said.

In a statement about the proceedings last week, Kabund said the investigation against him was proof that Congolese institutions were being exploited to serve political interests.

“Fighting the Tshisekedi regime is an absolute necessity for me, no matter the price to be paid,” he wrote on Twitter.