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Funeral for Congo's Etienne Tshisekedi, president's father

By The News · 04 of June 2019 09:38:28
AP Photo,, No available, The coffin carrying the remains of longtime Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi arrives at Kinshasa airport Thursday, May 30, 2019. The body of Tshisekedi, father of the current Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi, died in Brussels in February 2017, was returned to home soil Thursday night for burial more than two years after his death, after a political standoff ended. (AP Photo/John Bompengo)

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — A funeral Mass is being celebrated for Etienne Tshisekedi, the Congolese opposition icon whose son is now president of the sprawling Central African country.

The elder Tshisekedi died more than two years ago in Brussels at 84 but family members say then-Congo President Joseph Kabila blocked the return of his body.

Tshisekedi was one of the most outspoken critics of Kabila, at one point accusing him of treason for not stepping down when his mandate ended.

Tens of thousands have gathered to pay tribute to Tshisekedi since his casket arrived home Thursday evening.

The presidents of Rwanda, Central African Republic and Angola are among the world leaders in attendance for the remembrances Saturday in Kinshasa, the capital.

Felix Tshisekedi, his son, won the presidential election in January, ending 18 years of Kabila in office.