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DRC ambassador to Kenya accused of stealing church land

The ambassador is accused of attempting to grab nine hectares of land

[FILE] President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya (left) welcomes Ambassador John Nyakeru Kalunga of DRC at the State House on Friday, May 13, 2022. Image: PSCU

John Nyakeru Kalunga, the Democratic Republic of Congo's envoy to Kenya has been accused of stealing land belonging to St John XXIII, located west of the capital city, Kinshasa.

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Kalunga who also happens to be the brother-in-law to DRC's President Félix Tshisekedi is said to have hired a group of people who attempted to grab nine hectares from the archdiocese of Kinshasa.

"We have had the title of ownership of this concession of about nine hectares since colonial times," said Father Christian Ngazin, rector of the major theological seminary of St John XXIII.

Father Ngazin who accused the ambassador of state banditry claims people showed up on July 18 and attacked security guards as well as proceeded to start construction on their piece of land.

"They came, broke down the door, attacked the security guards and started construction work. They came under the mandate of John Nyakeru. This is state banditry," he said.

Father Ngazin was joined by Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo, the archbishop of Kinshasa who proceeded to show journalists proof that the land was theirs.

"This land has belonged to the archdiocese of Kinshasa since colonial times," said the Cardinal. He was accompanied by the land titles registrar, mandated by the minister of land affairs.

However, a lawyer representing the opposing parties who identified himself as Katako Okito claims the land was subdivided in 2019.

"There are titles in the names of third parties and all of a sudden the Church considers that it belongs to it. The land registry is there, the justice system is there if the church feels (wronged) it can go to court against my clients," Okito told AFP.

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