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Congo: Civil activists push for release of colleagues and 'political prisoners'


A section of civil rights activists in the Republic of Congo are no relenting in their quest to demand for the release of fellow activists, who they say have been arrested over the last ten days. The arrested were protesting to demand the release of those whom they consider political prisoners.

On 7 May in Pointe Noire, 20 activists from the Ras-le-Bol civil movement were arrested in front of the Pointe-Noire high court.

Three days later in Brazzaville, 3 other members of the group including their coordinator Frank Nzila were arrested. They were holding placards asking the government to release the political prisoners.

Brice Makosso is an activist with the Turnons La Page movement. He says: “On May 7, the trial of General Mokoko began and the movement Ras-le bol, which is a member of Let’s Turn the Page movement launched a campaign to demand the release of political prisoners. They were deployed to the ground with flyers and posters but the police interdicted their movement and that’s how they ended up arrested. First on May 7th in Pointe Noire and May 9 in Brzazzaville. “

The activists arrested in Brazzaville are being accused of “association with criminals and participation in an unauthorized demonstration. It is not yet known what is their counterparts from Pointe Noire stand accused of.

In a recent statement on the general situation in the country, the Roman Catholic Church in the Congo, had called on the government to open more political and civic space.

“The government should remember that it still needs the civil society. In particular, I would like to challenge the Minister of Finance who has control over the various initiatives to which the Republic of Congo has acceded: the case of ITEI and today regarding negotiations with the IMF. There is no point in harassing civil society when we know that tomorrow we will need it, for example in the negotiations with IMF,“Mr. Makosso said.

Brazaville seems reluctant to give in to the demands of the civil society that is calling for the release of its members.