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DR Congo minister urges punishment after police violence

By AFP

Added 23rd January 2018 05:42 PM

Kabila has been in power since 2001, at the helm of a regime widely criticised for corruption, repression and incompetence.

Congoprotests 703x422

Kabila has been in power since 2001, at the helm of a regime widely criticised for corruption, repression and incompetence.

PIC: People look on as protesters burn tyres during a demonstration calling for DR Congo president to step down on Sunday in Kinshasa. (Credit: AFP)

POLICE | DEMONSTRATION

DRC - DR Congo's minister for human rights on Tuesday called for the prosecution of police who opened fire on anti-government protestors at the weekend, in a crackdown condemned by the European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN).

Six people were killed, scores injured and dozens arrested, according to the UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO, when security forces opened fire on Catholic-organised rallies against President Joseph Kabila on Sunday.

"Those responsible for these acts must be punished and prosecuted by Congolese justice," Human Rights Minister Marie-Ange Mushobekwa said in an interview with the French station Radio France Internationale (RFI) while on a visit to Paris, France.

Asked about the particular case of a young girl gunned down at the entrance to a church in Kinshasa's Kintambo district, Mushobekwa, said: "I have no explanation. I do not understand why the security forces decided to open fire. Those behind these acts will not remain unpunished."

She also hit out at abuse of UN observers by the security forces, as reported by the UN.

"The government cannot tolerate aggression against UN personnel, who are there to support us."

Joseph Kabila, the President of DR Congo


In Brussels, the European Union on Tuesday said the "reprehensible acts contrast with the government's declared undertaking to create the right conditions for holding elections."

It called for "an effective judicial inquiry" to bring those responsible to book. The statement echoed a similar appeal on Monday by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The government on Tuesday blamed "vandals and bystanders" who had attacked the security forces and thrown stones at their vehicles.

"Inquiries are underway to establish responsibility in connection with the recorded deaths," according to a government report read by acting spokesman Felix Kabange Numbi.

Kabila, 46, has been in power since 2001, at the helm of a regime widely criticised for corruption, repression and incompetence.

His constitutional term in office expired in December 2016, but he has stayed on, stoking a bloody spiral of violence.

Under a deal brokered by the powerful Catholic Church, Kabila was allowed to stay in office provided new elections were held in 2017.

AFP

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