A self-proclaimed “prophet” and televangelist blamed for violence that killed more than 100 people in DR Congo’s two main cities Tuesday denied fleeing the country and called on the president to resign.
Supporters of Joseph Mukungubila Mutombo, who describes himself as God’s “last envoy to humanity after Jesus Christ and Paul of Tarsus”, blamed the army for deadly unrest in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi which he called a “massacre”.
The government said its forces had fought back a “terrorist offensive” on Monday, including attacks on the airport, the main army headquarters in the capital and in the second city of Lubumbashi.
Government spokesman Lambert Mende said 103 people were killed — 95 attackers and eight members of the armed forces — and Mukungubila was now on the run.
“The death toll is heavy, very heavy,” he told reporters.
Mukungubila, who ran for president in 2006, had charged in a December 5 open letter that President Joseph Kabila was colluding with the regime of neighbouring Rwanda and argued he should not remain head of state.
“He has, courageously, vanished,” Mende said.
“He himself does not believe that his cause is right, a cause for which he is claiming responsibility in phone calls from a neighbouring country, or not too far away from ours. This man is a fugitive, he’s on the run,” he said.
The preacher told AFP by telephone the allegation was incorrect, without saying more about his whereabouts, and demanded that Kabila step down.
“Let him resign, let him quit,” Joseph Mukungubila said.
“It is unacceptable that a foreigner should be the head of state. This is unacceptable,” he said, referring to claims by Kabila’s foes that he is Rwandan.
The pastor also rejected the official version of Monday’s violence, which he called a “massacre”.
“They (the assailants) were empty-handed … How do you explain that? Empty-handed! If you see the pictures of the bodies, there are no weapons.”
After taking control early Monday of the national radio and television premises in Kinshasa and holding reporters hostage, some armed youths clearly stated they were acting for Mukungubila, whom they call “the prophet of the eternal”.
His “Ministry of Restoration from Black Africa” said in an online statement published Monday that the armed forces had attacked the pastor’s home in Lubumbashi on Sunday, drawing armed reprisals.