Police ‘kidnap’ Catholic priest in DR Congo — witnesses

In this file photo, riot policemen fire tear gas to disperse Catholic priest and demonstrators during a protest against President Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.(Reuters)
Updated 03 February 2018

Police ‘kidnap’ Catholic priest in DR Congo — witnesses

KINSHASA: Police “kidnapped” a Catholic priest Saturday after mass in Kinshasa, witnesses said, amid spiralling tensions between the church and the DR Congo’s government over the president’s refusal to step down.
“Father Sebastien was taken away by police just after morning mass,” a nun of the Saint-Robert parish told AFP in N’sele on the eastern outskirts of the capital.
A police vehicle drew up outside the church, officers jumped out and “started to beat the priest,” said another nun who had also witnessed the incident.
“They threw him in the jeep and drove off with him,” she said, adding that an unidentified man “filmed the priest” on his mobile phone during mass.
Police refused to comment on the incident when contacted by AFP.
Priest Sebastien Yebo has worked for the parish since August 2017.
The incident comes after a deadly crackdown by the government on Catholic-organized protests against President Joseph Kabila.
At least 15 people have been killed in clashes with security forces at rallies on December 31 and January 21, according to the UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO.
Kabila, 46, has been in power since 2001, at the helm of a regime widely criticized for corruption, repression and incompetence.
His constitutional term in office expired in December 2016 but he has stayed on, stoking a bloody spiral of violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Under a deal brokered by the powerful Catholic Church, he was allowed to stay in office provided new elections were held in 2017.
The authorities then postponed the election until December 23 this year, citing what they said were logistical problems in preparing for the vote.
The delay, coupled with the mounting violence, has placed Kabila on collision course with the church, which has a prominent role in the DR Congo due to its educational and social care work.


Indonesian president ‘honored’ to have UAE street named after him

Updated 22 October 2020

Indonesian president ‘honored’ to have UAE street named after him

  • Abu Dhabi’s Al-Ma’arid Street renamed President Joko Widodo Street

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Tuesday said it was “an honor” for him and his country that a street in the UAE capital had been named after him.

Al-Ma’arid Street, one of Abu Dhabi’s key roads, was on Monday renamed President Joko Widodo Street during a ceremony that coincided with the first anniversary of the Indonesian leader’s inauguration for a second term in office.

Writing on social media, Widodo said: “It is a recognition and an honor, not only for me, but for Indonesia.” He also expressed hope that the two countries’ relations would be “stronger, mutually strengthening, and beneficial for the people of the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia.”

Indonesia’s ambassador to the UAE, Husin Bagis, told Arab News: “The initiative to rename the street after President Joko Widodo came from His Highness (Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan), who also presided over the street renaming ceremony on the spot.”

The envoy said that the street was near to the future location of the Indonesian Embassy compound, which was currently under construction.

According to UAE news agency WAM, the crown prince has also directed officials to build a mosque named after Widodo, in Abu Dhabi’s Diplomatic Area, in recognition of the Indonesian president’s close friendship with the UAE and his efforts to strengthen the relationship.

Indonesia-UAE relations have grown closer since Widodo’s visit to Abu Dhabi in January, during which he secured investment projects worth $22.9 billion in what has officially been described as the biggest trade deal in the country’s history. The visit was to reciprocate the crown prince’s trip to Indonesia in July 2019.

Recent cooperation agreements between the two countries have included plans for the construction of a mosque on a plot of land in Widodo’s hometown of Solo in Central Java.

The mosque will be a replica of Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and serve as an Islamic center offering training for clerics. A groundbreaking ceremony is slated to take place in December.

Widodo is the latest Indonesian leader to be celebrated through an honorific street name in a foreign country. In Rabat, Morocco’s capital, Avenue Sukarno was named after Indonesia’s first president, while Mohammed Hatta Street in Haarlem, the Netherlands, recognizes the Southeast Asian country’s first vice president. Sukarno and Hatta are considered the fathers of Indonesia’s independence.

The name of the country’s third president, B. J. Habibie, appears on a bridge in Dili, the capital of East Timor, in honor of his decision to hold a referendum there which allowed East Timor to secede from Indonesia.