Etienne Tshisekedi’s body returned to DR Congo from Belgium




Etienne TshisekediImage copyright
AFP

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Etienne Tshisekedi was in opposition for decades but failed in several attempts to become president

The body of the father of Democratic Republic of Congo’s president has arrived in his home country, two years after he died in Belgium aged 84.

Veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi died in Brussels in February 2017.

But his body stayed in Belgium because of a row with former President Joseph Kabila. The deadlock ended when his son, Felix, became president last year.

Crowds have been heading towards the airport since Thursday morning.

Some are carrying printed pictures with the slogan “Le people d’abord,” French for “people first”, reports the BBC’s Gaius Kowene in Kinshasa.

Many are wearing white clothes to symbolise that Mr Tshisekedi was clean from corruption.

Tshisekedi was in opposition for decades but failed in several attempts to become president.

For his supporters, his remains coming home represent a victory over the former government that wouldn’t let them repatriate the body, our correspondent says.

His body is to be taken to a stadium in the capital Kinshasa for people to visit on Friday but the casket will be closed.

Moss Lenga, spokesperson for the Tshisekedi funeral committee, told the BBC that religious leaders would inspect the body to confirm that it is that of Etienne Tshisekedi.

He will have a state burial on Saturday, which several African heads of state are due to attend.

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