A Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) political activist affiliated to the youth movement LUCHA, Lutte pour le Changement (Struggle for Change), was kidnapped on Friday 16 December 2016 in the capital Kinshasa allegedly by intelligence services agents, LUCHA and her family said.
Gloria Sengha Panda Shala has since not been seen or heard from.
Details and circumstances of her kidnapping and ordeal are sketchy at the moment, but unconfirmed reports said Gloria, a student of the University of Kinshasa (UNIKIN), was coming back from school when the kidnapping occurred.
Her colleagues of LUCHA and family are said to be concerned about her safety and have called on the government to disclose her whereabouts.
She has been described as a dedicated young activist and militant.
Tension is running high in the DRC, as President Joseph Kabila’s constitutional two-term in office ends on Monday December 19 at midnight.
Scores of opposition politicians, human rights and political activists and critical ordinary members of the public have reportedly been arrested, beaten up and some kidnapped and disappeared.
University sources told Sifa News that prior to her kidnapping, Gloria had accepted a friend’s request from an intelligence informant, who afterwards began to spy on her and her Facebook comments.
Gloria’s Facebook account, https://www.facebook.com/gloria.lademocrate, which has 2 958 followers and not been updated since December 16, contains some critical comments toward Kabila. Some of them read:
“If Kabila wants peace, he must just leave power on December 19. Otherwise, the people will do it for him.
“Our forefathers fought colonisation and triumphed without having phones. South Africans fought apartheid and regained their freedom without having access to the internet.
“We, the Congolese, will fight the dictatorship of Kabila and his band, even if they cut off the Internet, block SMSes and phone calls.”
She was referring to the shutdown of the internet and social networks which the authorities were due to impose on Sunday night onwards to allegedly prevent the spread of anti-Kabila violence.
Photo: Kidnapped’s LUCHA political activist Gloria Sengha Panda Shala.