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6 Nov 2019

Democratic Republic of Congo: Community leader Mongulu Boyoha Alphonse & son arrested, allegedly following a complaint from Feronia

A long-standing land conflict with Plantations et Huileries du Congo (PHC), a subsidiary of Canadian company, Feronia Inc., resulted in arrests of community leaders in late October 2019.  PHC-Feronia operates three long-established palm oil plantations and produces mainly crude palm oil and palm kernel oil, which is sold domestically in the DRC. When Feronia acquired PHC from Unilever in 2009, it claimed to have inherited lease agreements from PHC for all of the lands where the company has plantations. But local communities rejected Feronia’s statement and said that the company has any legal document granting the land.  

On Friday and Saturday, 25 and 26 October 2019, Mr. Mongulu Boyoha Alphonse, member of a well-known civil society organization RIAO-RDC, and his son Bonyonge Gabuy were kidnapped at night in their community by men in uniform from the provincial capital Kisangani, operating under the mandate of the Attorney General, allegedly following a complaint from PHC-Feronia. We reached out to Feronia for a response, which is available below. A rejoinder from RIAO-RDC is forthcoming.