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Updated Mar 12, 2020

Unnamed sources within the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s government and intelligence services confirmed to The Africa Report the most basic of information surrounding the death of Léon Lukaku, the former head of the National Intelligence Agency, whose passing was announced on Monday, March 9. Under cover of anonymity, senior officials within Congolese intelligence simply said that Lukaku had been “sick”, without elaborating. The former counter-espionage head was dismissed from his position some time in February. Shortly after news of his death had broken the government announced it would launch an official investigation.


Why It Matters

Lukaku’s death follows closely after that of Délphin Kahimbi, the deputy chief of staff for military intelligence, who died in a Kinshasa hospital of unknown causes on February 28. Both Kahimbi and Lukaku were close associates of former president Joseph Kabila, from whom current president Félix Tshisekedi has been trying to distance himself. Kabila’s transfer of presidential power to Tshisekedi did not mean a full removal of his influence from politics, as more than a third of all government positions, including high-ranking ones in the military, remain occupied by Kabila-era appointments.

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