An American national Darryl Lewis, working as a security adviser to the leading opposition figure in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Moise Katumbi, has been freed after six weeks in detention, the country’s general prosecutor has said.
Lewis was arrested during a street protest and detained on April 24, together with three other members of Katumbi’s entourage in the southern city of Lubumbashi.
The DRC’s general prosecutor, Victor Mumba Mukomo said Lewis has been handed over to the U.S ambassador in the capital Kinshasa.
Congolese authorities said the US citizen was arrested because he did not have a permit to work in the country. Although he is being allowed to return to the US, the case against him will remain open.
Azarias Ruberwa, lawyer for Darryl Lewis has confirmed the latter would return home but added that US officials were also looking into the matter.
Katumbi was last month arrested and charged for hiring mercenaries as part of a plot against the state.
But the former governor of the oil-rich Katanga province has denied the charge describing it as a calculated attempt to derail his presidential ambition.
It is not yet clear if Lewis’ arrest was connected with the state’s claims that Katumbi had recruited foreign mercenaries.
Political tension is high in the DRC as the opposition is demanding president Joseph Kabila leaves office when his mandate expires in December.
Elections are expected to be held in November but it is not yet clear if the planned poll will go ahead as the government has cited logistical and budgetary challenges, a move the opposition considers a ploy by the president to extend his stay in office.
The country’s constitutional court has meanwhile ruled that president Kabila can stay on if power if polls are not held as scheduled.