President Kabila appoints army chief amidst sanctions

President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Joseph Kabila

President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Joseph Kabila.

President Joseph Kabila has appointed a new army chief who is under international sanctions for the violent repression of dissent, raising fears of an imminent crackdown.

State television reported that Kabila appointed Gen. John Numbi to the post of inspector-general of the Congolese Armed Forces.

Numbi has been placed under sanctions by the U.S., European Union and Switzerland for alleged killings of scores of civilians by forces controlled by him over several years.

His promotion was part of a reshuffle in which also saw Gen. Gabriel Amisi, himself under sanctions for abuses and for selling weapons to rebel groups responsible for massacring civilians, was promoted to army deputy chief of staff.

On Sept. 28, 2016, the U. S. clamped sanctions on Gen. Numbi, a week after dozens of people died in clashes between Congolese security forces and protesters angered by what opposition groups charge are Kabila’s plan to postpone the vote and retain power beyond his two-term limit.

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