Daniel Sukula wrote to IRR News earlier this year to tell us of his fears of being deported to Congo. Now he asks readers to support his anti-deportation campaign.
‘My name is Daniel and I am 15 years old’, begins his letter. ‘I am writing this because me and my family face deportation to Congo. I don’t want to go back to Congo because there is a war there and, if I go back, my life will be finished.’
Daniel Sukula, who lives in Bolton with his mother, three sisters and two brothers and is currently studying for his GCSEs, had read an IRR News article about deportations to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and was deeply worried about what would happen to him and his family. Having recently found out that an asylum appeal had been rejected, his mother had received a further letter warning that the family might also be thrown out of their home. But the greatest fear was that they might be sent back to the life-threatening dangers from which they had escaped three years ago.
Daniel’s letter to IRR News continued: ‘One of my mum’s friends who was deported was killed in a prison in Congo. If we go back, we might also end up in prison, so please help us. And I am scared that if I go back, I will be forced to become a soldier. I don’t want to be a soldier when I am older. I want to be a football player. I play for a local team and, when I am older, I want to play for England.’
IRR News visited Daniel and his family in their home in Bolton and spoke to them about their intention to launch an anti-deportation campaign. Both Daniel and his sister Flores, 18, who is attending college, hope that they can gain support from other students. Daniel Sukula hopes that IRR News’ readers will support his campaign by signing the petition that is available on his website and by writing letters to the Home Office.
Beating by government militia
Daniel’s mother Ngiedi Lusukumu and her children came to Britain to seek sanctuary in 2002 after being forced to flee from Kinshasa, the capital of DRC, where she was badly beaten by government militia and threatened with further violence. The militia were looking for her husband, who had already been forced to leave as a suspected opponent of the government. The beating inflicted on Ngiedi left her with permanent scars but, after claiming asylum in Britain, the family were told by the Home Office that their claim was unfounded and it was rejected by an appeals adjudicator last February.
The continuing conflict in DRC is the worst of the ‘forgotten wars’ of our times. Three million people have been killed, the highest death toll of any war since the second world war. Yet only once has it made the front page of any newspaper in Britain. Furthermore, it is a war in which women and children have borne the brunt of the violence, suffering torture, rape and detention. The dangers of deporting asylum seekers back to DRC are all the worse given that, according to human rights organisations, many returned asylum seekers are automatically imprisoned by the authorities in Kinshasa after being handed over by British immigration officials on the airport tarmac.
Whether the family can avoid such an awful fate appears to rest now on how much support their campaign can generate and whether the Home Office can be persuaded to listen.
The Sukula Family Must Stay – sign the petition
The grim fate that awaits those deported to Congo – IRR report