Plane crash wipes out Kabila’s closest aides

By Henry D Gombya

Augustine Katumba Mwanke, President Kabila’s ‘Dick Cheney’ who died yesterday in a plane crash in Goma.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s President Joseph Kabila has suffered a severe blow after many of his confidants were killed in a plane crash in Goma Sunday. Reports reaching our news desk say among those killed in the crash was Ambassador Augustine Katumba Mwanke, nicknamed ‘AK-47’ and who is said to have been the right arm of President Kabila, DRC Finance Minister Matata Ponyo,  South Kivu Governor Cishambo Marcellin and roving ambassador Antoine Ghonda.

Reports say the President’s entourage were aboard a Gulfstream private jet that missed the landing at Goma Airport on Sunday morning. Katumba Mwanke, said to have been President Kabila’s most powerful advisor, is said to have died on the spot while others either died in  ambulances that tried to drive them to hospitals or on the way to hospitals in South Africa aboard air ambulances. But later reports seem to suggest all died at the spot even though there were attempts to take them to hospital.

Since he took power in 2001 after the assassination of his father President Laurent Kabila, the younger Kabila is said to have placed most of his trust in Katumba Mwanke who many likened to the bond former US President George W Bush had with Vice President Dick Cheney.

The aircraft is said to have taken off from Kinshasa and was attempting to land at Goma Airport when it missed the landing and ended up close to the Bukavu Lukanga River. A son of the former director of the late President Mobutu’s office, Bertrand Bisengimana was said to have been among the victims.

“It is a very big loss. He was considered a pillar of the presidential entourage,” Lambert Mende, DRC government spokesman said. Katumba Mwanke, 58, was seen by many as the power behind the throne. He retained a major influence in the country’s mineral sector and was held responsible by the Kabila government for the bad press that emanated from the 2009 WikiLeaks reports surrounding a US$9 billion mines-for-infrastructure deal with the People’s Republic of China.

Eight passengers are said to have been aboard a Gulfstream G-IV corporate jet. None of the flight crew are said to have survived. The G-IV is said to have the ability to obtain access into some of the most difficult airports.

5 thoughts on “Plane crash wipes out Kabila’s closest aides

  • February 13, 2012 at 5:54 pm
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    it is time that God will talk on behaif of Congolese the same thing happen during Mobutu that going on with the current Congo goverment. Anyway the the time of sacrifices has comes and Joseph should realise that anything can happen too as we are crying for they are deals of blood mineral of Congo. We know the president is sick by cover is dirty deal by katumbalook whole the wealth of the president are being under katumba mwanke control as long as Congoleses steals suffering an answer will come love God it sad to give a poor person power because he gives back to his people but that it is not happen in the Congo the big gread of African leader and be support by the biggest cooperated of the world consider Africa as the farm when you can steal and no one can say

    Reply
    • February 14, 2012 at 1:54 am
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      Apologies for the English in this comment. We tried to correct it but found it quite hard. Hope you all get the gist of what Jean Claude is trying to say. Editor.

      Reply
  • February 14, 2012 at 6:07 am
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    No we understand his English editor. The guy is translating from French to English and we should encourage him. Thanks for publishing his comment it shows our paper is read worldwide by many people including those that have different national and official languages. Those words go back from front in French!

    Reply
  • February 16, 2012 at 11:42 am
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    80% of your info is wrong, do you publish without verification?
    Only Katumba Mwanke and 2 pilots died
    The aeroplane was landing in Bukavu, not Goma
    Learn your geography before publishing please, you should be embarrassed

    Reply
    • February 16, 2012 at 11:42 pm
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      We are grateful for your corrections and as soon as we have rechecked our sources we will provide a correction. If you know what happened to the other people aboard the plane, we would be happy to post the information. In future it would be wise to provide us with your correct names too. Editor.

      Reply

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