Democratic Republic of the Congo: The incident involving Armand Tungulu that took place at the end of September 2010 in Kinshasa, including the date, details of the location and circumstances, his arrest and the events that followed; whether other people were arrested or detained for reasons pertaining to that incident [COD104025.FE]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Arrest and Death of Armand Tungulu

Armand Tungulu was a Congolese man who lived in Belgium (La Dernière Heure 3 Jan. 2011; Le Soir 3 Jan. 2011; Radio Okapi 3 Oct. 2010). In an article published on 13 October 2010 by Jeune Afrique, Armand Tungulu was reported to be a member of [translation] “the Congolese opposition in Belgium” who was “involved with the Bana Congo movement that is radically opposed to Kabila, and a member of the One Euro to Save the Congo Association;” the article, however, did not provide any details about those two organizations. Additional information on this topic could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

On 29 September 2010, in Kinshasa, Armand Tungulu was arrested for throwing stones at the convoy of the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (La Dernière Heure 3 Jan. 2011; Le Soir 3 Jan. 2011; Radio Okapi 3 Oct. 2010). According to Radio Okapi, the United Nations radio in DRC (Radio Okapi n.d.), that incident occurred on Libération Avenue, close to the Comette market (3 Oct. 2010); Libération Avenue was formerly known as November 24 Avenue (Radio Okapi 24 Feb. 2012; Le Potentiel 2 Dec. 2011). Two other sources indicate that the incident occurred on November 24 Avenue (KongoTimes! 28 Sept. 2011; Congo indépendant 30 Sept. 2010).

According to the media, Armand Tungulu resisted arrest (RFI 3 Oct. 2010; Le Climat tempéré 14 Oct. 2010); he was then insulted and beaten by members of the security forces (ibid.). However, the United States Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010 notes that members of the presidential guard had “severely” beaten him (US 8 Apr. 2011, Sec. 1a). The website KongoTimes!, which publishes information about the DRC, indicates that members of the presidential guard had beaten him before taking him to camp Tshatshi (28 Sept. 2011).

On 2 October 2010, the attorney general of the DRC announced that Armand Tungulu had committed suicide while in custody at camp Tshatshi (US 8 Apr. 2011, Sec. 1a; KongoTimes! 28 Sept. 2011) using a pillow (ibid.; Radio Okapi 3 Oct. 2010; BBC 4 Oct. 2010). According to the media, the Congolese authorities stated that Mr. Tungulu “committed suicide” during the night of 1 to 2 October 2010 (La Dernière Heure 3 Jan. 2011; 25 Oct. 2010). That version was rejected by human rights NGOs (ibid.). A human rights activist was quoted by the BBC as saying that there were no pillows in Congolese jails (4 Oct. 2010). Information indicating whether an autopsy was performed to determine the cause of death for Armand Tungulu could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

The United States Department of State indicates that, according to media reports, despite requests from Armand Tungulu’s wife, the Congolese authorities did not release his body to his family (US 8 Apr. 2011, Sec. 1a). The Brussels daily La Dernière Heure reported on 31 December 2010 that the body of Armand Tungulu had been buried at the cemetery in Kinkole, a suburb of Kinshasa, without his family having been informed (3 Jan. 2011). On 22 September 2011, Réveil-FM, a radio station that broadcasts from Kinshasa, announced that Armand Tungulu’s relatives were claiming that his body had been buried at the cemetery in Kinkole in the absence of his family. Information on the outcome of that case could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

2. Arrests in Connection with the Incident

According to Radio France internationale (RFI), after Armand Tungulu’s arrest, approximately five other people were arrested in connection with the incident (3 Oct. 2010). Sources indicate that a lawyer, Nicole Muaka Bondo [or Nicole Bondo Muaka], and a human rights activist, Madeleine Mangabu [or Mado Mangabu], were among those arrested (Radio Okapi 3 Oct. 2010; Le Potentiel 6 Oct. 2010). According to an article in the Kinshasa daily Le Potentiel, the two women were arrested on 29 September 2010 (ibid.). Le Potentiel indicates that they were part of the human rights NGOs Black Togas (Toges noires) and World March of Women (ibid.). They were accused of having filmed the incident between Armand Tungulu and members of the presidential guard (ibid.). On 14 October 2010, the Kinshasa daily Le Climat Tempéré indicated that the five people who were arrested had later been released for [translation] “lack of evidence of collusion with Tungulu.” Madeleine Mangabu was released on 4 October 2010 (Le Potentiel 6 Oct. 2010; Radio Okapi 5 Oct. 2010), and Nicole Muaka Bondo on 6 October 2010 (ibid. 6 Oct. 2010; Le Phare 7 Oct. 2010).

However, an article published in September 2011 by Réveil-FM indicated that a source close to Armand Tungulu had told the media that [translation] “Armand was not alone … on the day he was arrested. Some of his relatives also disappeared, because Joseph Kabila thought that Armand Tungulu … was planning a coup d’état” (22 Sept. 2011). Further information on this matter could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References 25 October 2010. Vincent Duhen. “Affaire Armand Tungulu : la pression s’accroît sur Joseph Kabila.” [Accessed 26 Mar. 2012]

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). 4 October 2010. “DR Congo: Joseph Kabila Critic’s ‘Suicide’ Doubted.” [Accessed 19 Mar. 2012]

Le Climat Tempéré [Kinshasa]. 14 October 2010. “Décès de Armand Tungulu/l’autopsie fait peur : l’État congolais mis en demeure.” [Accessed 26 Mar. 2012]

Congo indépendant. 30 September 2010. Baudouin Amba Wetshi. “Une jeep conduite par Joseph Kabila lapidée à Kinshasa.” [Accessed 19 Mar. 2012]

La Dernière Heure [Brussels]. 3 January 2011. “RDC : l’opposant Armand Tungulu enterré vendredi à Kinshasa à l’insu de sa famille.” [Accessed 26 Mar. 2012]

Jeune Afrique. 13 October 2010. “Qui était Armand Tungulu? [Accessed 19 Mar. 2012]

KongoTimes!. 28 September 2011. Baudouin Amba Wetshi. “Tuer par ‘Joseph Kabila’ : Armand Tungulu, un an déjà! [Accessed 26 Mar. 2012]

Le Phare [Kinshasa]. 7 October 2010. “Affaire Armand Tungulu - Me Nicole Mwaka a quitté les cachots de l’ANR.” [Accessed 29 Mar. 2012]

Le Potentiel [Kinshasa]. 2 December 2011. “Kinshasa : rafle des journaux sur l’avenue de la Libération.” [Accessed 27 Mar. 2012]

_____. 6 October 2010. Donatien Ngandu Mupompa. “Affaire jet de pierre sur le cortège présidentiel : Mado Mangambu relaxée.” [Accessed 19 Mar. 2012]

Radio France internationale (RFI). 3 October 2010. “Armand Tungulu, l’auteur d’un jet de pierre contre le convoi de Kabila, est décédé.” [Accessed 19 Mar. 2012]

Radio Okapi. 24 February 2012. “Kinshasa : reprise des travaux de reconstruction de l’avenue Libération.” [Accessed 27 Mar. 2012]

_____. 6 October 2010. “Kinshasa : l’ANR a libéré Me Nicole Mwaka.” [Accessed 26 Mar. 2012]

_____. 5 October 2010. “Affaire Tungulu : l’ANR libère une activiste des droits l’homme interpellée mercredi.” [Accessed 19 Mar. 2012]

_____. 3 October 2010. “Kinshasa : décès de Tungulu Mudiandambu Armand, le lanceur de pierre sur le cortège présidentiel.” [Accessed 19 Mar. 2012]

_____. N.d. “À propos.” [Accessed 19 Mar. 2012]

Réveil-FM. 22 September 2011. Hippolyte Kimbalanga. “Pourquoi Joseph Kabila fait-il enlever les dépouilles mortelles de ses opposants? [Accessed 26 Mar. 2012]

Le Soir [Brussels]. 3 January 2011. Colette Braeckman. “La deuxième mort d’Armand Tungulu.” [Accessed 26 Mar. 2012]

United States (US). 8 April 2011. Department of State. “Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010. [Accessed 26 Mar. 2012]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Attempts made to contact representatives of the following organizations were unsuccessful: Association africaine de défense des droits de l’homme, Centre des droits de l’homme et du droit humanitaire, Collectif des organisations des jeunes solidaires du Congo-Kinshasa, Journaliste en danger, Ligue pour la paix et les droits de l’homme, United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, La Voix des sans voix pour les droits de l’homme.

Internet sites, including: Agence France-Presse,, Alliance des patriotes pour la refondation du Congo, Amnesty International, Central Africa Human Rights Defenders Network, Congo Planète, Congo Vision, La Conscience, Les Dépêches de Brazzaville,, Factiva, Le Figaro, France24, Front Line Defenders, Human Rights Watch, Inter Press Service, International Federation for Human Rights, Libération, Médiaf, Le Monde, Le Palmarès, La Prospérité, Radio Canal Révélation, Reuters, Le Soft International, United Nations Integrated Regional Information Networks, La Voix des sans voix pour les droits de l’homme, Xinhua News Agency.

Associated documents