A special flight from Melsbroek military airport and destined for Kinshasar departed on Tuesday afternoon to return 19 Congolese nationals who had been residing illegally in Belgium, to their own country, revealed Dominique Ernould, spokesman of the Foreign Office, on Tuesday. According to Mr Ernould, their departure from the 127bis Repatriation Centre in Steenokkerzeel took place without incident. He added that the secure flight took off at 2:15pm and was carrying 19 Congolese nationals who had been living illegally in Belgium and unsuccessful asylum seekers who had exhausted all possible options to regularize their status in Belgium.
The Congolese authorities will take charge of the individuals on their arrival in Kinshasa, expected to be between midnight and 1:00 am. It was a joint Frontex flight to which Finland and Romania had also contributed. Three Congolese immigrants who had been residing illegally in these two countries were returned to their homeland on the same flight.
Thirty people protested against this expulsion in front of the Foreign Office on Monday evening. According to the protestors, at least two of the people being sent home are political opponents. They also highlighted that in February, the British weekly The Observer had revealed a Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Foreign Office document which recommended government opponents be arrested and “discreetly” tortured following their expulsion from Britain, Italy and Belgium.
Oscar Schneider (Source: Belga)