Marek News Briefs: Congo Republic

Albert Siassia and his French-born wife, Annie Siassia have filed a suit in the Paris tribunal against President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Congo Republic for atrocities committed against them during the civil war before they fled to France in December 1998. Also accused are Nguesso's two serving ministers and army generals. Ruth Nabakwe reported for PANA on December 15 that all of Siassia's property was looted by the soldiers who attacked his farm claiming that he acquired the property under Lissouba's regime. The soldiers allegedly invaded their home, and put them against the wall with the purpose of killing them. Siassia said he escaped death when he was shot twice in the thorax. His wife pleaded for his life and the soldiers ordered him to go to the hospital for treatment. The French consul at Pointe-Noire ultimately helped the couple to leave the country for France on a flight via Libreville, Gabon. An association comprising Congolese and French nationals for the couple and other victims of atrocities committed in Congo has been created to provide moral, health and financial support. Besides Nguesso, the couple pressed charges against Energy Minister Tassoua, Communications Minister Francois Ibovi and army generals Yves Motando Mongo, Norbert Dabira, Blaise Adoua, Phillipe Longonda and Jacques Morlende, among others, for their role in the atrocities. This law suit could set a trend, and more important, could open Pandora's Box to reveal what really happened when the democratically elected government of Pascal Lissouba was overthrown in 1997 by an invading Angolan force that combined with Sassou's militia, all of whom were allegedly supported by France.