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“It was hot and we were unable to breathe – four people died.”
In an interview with RAID, former police chief, Pierre Kunda, described his arrest, imprisonment and torture. “When the rebel leader, Kazadi* and his men arrived on the night of 14 October 2004, I asked all my police officers to come and protect the town. I tried to contact the Army High Command but four rebels hit me and took away my weapon. Then they took me to Kazadi, who told me that I would face a popular trial the next day. If local people said that I had committed ‘tracasseries’ (bribery, harassment, etc) it would be bad for me.
Kazadi then made for the harbour to try to find a radio: he wanted to contact Anvil. On the way to the harbour I managed to slip away and hide and then with 13 other police officers we fled the town. I reached the village of Mukupa and took refuge there. But I was later found by Colonel Ademar who had sent his troops to recall the dispersed population in Anvil lorries. I and the other policemen were asked to return to Kilwa.
When I reached Kilwa I was arrested and beaten. Ademar accused me of joining the rebels and said ‘your fate is sealed, you will be killed.’ I was then shut up in a small room with about 48 other people. We were jammed in so tightly no one could move or sit down. It only could hold ten people. It was hot and we were unable to breathe – four people died.”**
The Territorial Administrator confirmed that Kunda had been very badly tortured by Colonel Ademar. He was flown to Lubumbashi and held incommunicado in the headquarters of the 6th Military Region for another where the torture and ill-treatment continued. He was then transferred to the Kazapa prison outside Lubumbashi. He was tried by a military court on a charge of treason but was acquitted in April 2005 and was released. Kunda never recovered his health and died in November 2009.
*Alain Kazadi Mukulay, the leader of the MRLK rebels was a fisherman from Pweto. On 15th October he was wounded by soldiers and taken to the Kilwa hospital. According to witnesses his injuries were not life-threatening. He was transferred to the 6th Military Region Headquarters in Lubumbashi where he allegedly died of his injuries.
**RAID Interview with Pierre Kunda Musopelo.