13879408_1159638170766984_4360598307420014418_n-1200x1200In a communiqué issued by the US State Department on 19 September 2016, the American government was “outraged and deeply disturbed by the physical obstruction and verbal aggression aimed at U.S. Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa Tom Perriello while he was departing from the Kinshasa airport on September 18”.

Perriello was verbally aggressed by Deo Ingulu, a member of parliament from the ruling coalition, as the Special Representative was waiting for his flight in the VIP lounge of the N’djili airport.  Ingulu told Perriello “the DRC cannot countenance the interference of the US government with our internal affairs”.  It is unknown whether the attack was deliberately planned, but the communiqué lamented that “the Special Envoy is a well-known figure in Kinshasa” and that he “was blocked and verbally threatened in an area of Kinshasa’s N’djili Airport that is tightly secured by Congolese authorities”.

Reacting to incident, the US Embassy in the DRC strongly condemned the attack in the strongest terms.

The incident occurred as Perriello concluded a ten-day visit to Kinshasa during which the diplomat met with a wide range of government, opposition, civil society, and international actors to “encourage participation in a dialogue that respects the spirit of the DRC constitution and is aimed at reaching consensus on holding elections as soon as technically feasible”.

In response to the incident, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Aubin Minaku, said “if ever there were strong-worded statements against the Special Envoy at the Airport by some members of the ruling coalition, it should probably due to the fact they were carried over”. Minaku added “they were certainly in disagreement with the Special Envoy’s approach on the internal affairs of the DRC”. He nevertheless warned “I will not tolerate any insult against the Special Envoy because he is the representative of a Head of State”.