In August 2007 the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, was ordered by a high court judge to suspend deportations of unsuccessful asylum seekers to the Democratic Republic of Congo, after evidence of the rape and torture of deportees by Congolese officials emerged. However the Home Office has now deemed it safe to deport people to DR Congo, despite the ongoing war, corruption, breakdown of society, and severe lack of health care.  Human Rights Watch, in its recent report “We Will Crush You – The Restrictions of Political Space in the Democratic Republic of Congo” states:

“Security forces deliberately killed or summarily executed more than 500 persons in Kinshasa and Bas Congo and arbitrarily arrested and detained about a thousand more, many of whom were tortured or ill-treated.”

Titi Nzamba Bolele, and her three young children, were snatched in a dawn raid by UK Border Agents from their home in Iron Street, Adamsdown, Cardiff at 6am on Monday 1st February. On Friday, they were put on a flight to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), but the children, Beni, Daniel and David, started screaming and the pilot refused to take off. They were removed from the plane and are currently being held at Yarl’s Wood detention centre.

The Bolele family arrived in Cardiff in 2006 after fleeing the DRC when Ms Bolele became aware her life was in danger. While she worked in the house of president Joseph Kabila, a newspaper article giving personal details about the president’s family was published. Ms Bolele was accused of being the source and was sacked. Soldiers later arrived at her house to arrest her while she was out. After being tipped off by a family member, she realised that she was in danger and fled the Congo in 2006, with her 3 children. But now their application for asylum has been denied, she believes that she would be arrested and very likely killed if she was forced to return to DRC.

There is concern that the Home Office is going to attempt to use a charter flight to deport a number of people to DR Congo in the coming days. In the past, pilots have refused to carry forced deportees, especially if they or their children are creating a fracas. The use of a charter flight makes this final act of resistance against the governments cruel practice more difficult. The Congolese community and campaign groups are watching carefully for any Congolese persons being detained and given removal directions for certain flights.

What you can do

  • Write to the Home Office:(quoting ref: N1132926), you can amend this model letter if needed. Either by email, or send the letter to; Rt Hon Jacqui Smith MP, Secretary of State for the Home Department, 3rd Floor, Peel Buildings, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF. Please inform us of any letters, faxes, e-mails sent.

Please watch this space to support actions in support of Titi, her children and the Congolese community in Wales.