21 October 2006

She Okitundu beaten, left as naked as a worm and hospitalised in London.”

Léonard She Okitundu, President Joseph Kabila's chief of staff savagely attacked, beaten, stripped naked and robbed in London by Bemba's thugs!

By Audrey Gillan, Hugh Muir and David Pallister

The Guardian, London, Friday October 13, 2006.

A senior member of the Congolese cabinet was attacked in London by a gang who beat him around the head and body with a baseball bat, stripped him and posted pictures of his clothes on the internet.

Scotland Yard last night launched an investigation into the assault on Leonard She Okitundu, the chief of staff to Joseph Kabila, the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, amid questions over why a foreign dignitary should be so vulnerable. The politician was left in the A&E of the Middlesex Central hospital with no trousers, covered in a blanket. "The police didn't seem to care. No one helped me and I was naked, that would never happen in my country," he said.

"I wasn't seen by a nurse for two hours and not by a doctor until 2am. I explained that I was a VIP ... but no one cared to give me a pair of trousers. The Foreign Office have done nothing to help me."

Mr Okitundu believes the humiliation was orchestrated by Mr Kabila's enemies in London. He was due to appear on the Original Black Entertainment TV channel when he and two colleagues were assaulted by more than 20 men outside its studios in Park Royal, north west London.

His clothes were forcibly removed and his briefcase, containing passport, money and credit cards, as well as official papers, were stolen. His attackers posted pictures of Mr Okitundu's monogrammed suit, his Mont Blanc pen and the business cards of the MPs and officials that he had met that day, as well as condoms that were in his pocket. His underpants were captured on a cameraphone turned inside out.

Mr Okitundu told the Guardian: "I left the Foreign Office and went to the television station and the people were waiting for us in the car park. I didn't even have time to open the door of the car before people attacked me with baseball bats.

"They pulled me out of the car to beat and kick me. They took my jacket and my trousers, my shirt and my pants. Then they dragged me and left me lying naked."

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