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Papa Wemba in Belgium over people traffiking

Published on 18/02/2004

18 February 2004

BRUSSELS – Congolese music star Papa Wemba arrived in Belgium on Tuesday to face charges of people smuggling, his lawyer confirmed.

The 54-year-old singer is a Belgian citizen who had been living in France. But on Tuesday the French authorities extradited him to Belgium in connection with the smuggling charges.

Papa Wemba has already been arrested and questioned in France, where the authorities say he used his musical activities to smuggle around 150 people out of his native Democratic Republic of Congo into the country.

He is wanted in connection with similar charges in Belgium.

In both cases Papa Wemba, whose real name is Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba, is accused of making around EUR 3, 500 per person smuggled.

The singer came to prominence in his home country, then called Zaire, in 1969. He formed his present group Viva La Musica in 1977.

He moved to Europe in the 1980s and has worked with many well-known artists including world music champion and former Genesis lead singer Peter Gabriel.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Belgian news