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Etienne Tshisekedi's casket is on public display in Kinshasa. Courtesy photo

Etienne Tshisekedi's Body Lies in State in DR Congo after Two Years in Belgium

Thousands have gathered in a stadium to pay their respects to veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi. Mr Tshisekedi died in Belgium in February 2017, aged 84, but his body stayed there because of a row with former President Joseph Kabila.
posted onJune 1, 2019
nocomment

By BBC

After a two-year delay, the body of the father of Democratic Republic of Congo's president is now lying in state in his home country.

Thousands have gathered in a stadium to pay their respects to veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi. Mr Tshisekedi died in Belgium in February 2017, aged 84, but his body stayed there because of a row with former President Joseph Kabila.

The deadlock ended when his son, Félix, became president at the end of last year. The Martyrs' Stadium in Kinshasa erupted in cheers on Friday afternoon as the casket containing Etienne Tshisikedi's remains entered, says the BBC's Gaius Kowene.

Supporters of Etienne Tshisekedi screamed and blew whistles in the 80,000-capacity arena. The presidents of Rwanda and Angola were among the dignitaries present. The campaign to bury Tshisekedi's remains in his home country faced obstacles from President Félix Tshisekedi's predecessor, Joseph Kabila.

For his supporters, Tshisekedi coming home represents a victory over the former government, our correspondent says. Last-minute delays also hampered the body's journey from Brussels to DR Congo capital city, Kinshasa.

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