wnol.info July 22 2018

2 dead in anti-government protests in DRC's capital

July 22 2018, 11:40 | Irvin Gilbert



Georges Kapiamba, a human rights activist, said he had confirmed with his network of observers that security forces killed at least two people in Kinshasa and one in Kananga.

The delay has fuelled suspicions Kabila will try to remove constitutional term limits that forbid him from running again, as presidents in neighbouring countries have done.

An AFP reporter at a demonstration in the central city of Kananga saw a man shot in the chest by soldiers who opened fire on worshippers.

"Participating in a protest is a fundamental right", secretary general Michaelle Jean said in a statement, urging "free, transparent and credible elections in DRC".

A government statement said one policeman had also been killed.

Internet cuts are common during anti-government demonstrations in the vast, mineral-rich central African country, which has been wracked by tension over delayed elections.

Catholic activists had called for protests after Sunday worship, one year after Kabila committed to holding an election to choose his successor by the end of 2017 - an election that has now been delayed until December 2018.

"We can only denounce, condemn and stigmatise the behaviour of our supposedly courageous men in uniform, who, sadly, and no more or less, are channelling barbarism", he said.

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The Roman Catholic archbishop of Kinshasa, Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, issued an angry statement, saying that the marches had been "peaceful and non violent".

"While we were praying, the soldiers and the police entered the church compound and fired tear gas at the church", he said.

Worldwide powers such as the United Nations have called on the Congolese authorities to allow peaceful protests. "We have to turn out in droves in the face of these mercenaries", he said, referring to the security forces.

After the altar boys dressed in their liturgical robes were detained other protesters started singing for the Virgin Mary to "make Kabila go".

His second term in office officially ended in December 2016, but he is still there - and promised elections never happened.

The country has not had a peaceful transition of power since independence from Belgium in 1960.

Elections had been due to take place by the end of this year under a church-mediated deal.

The poll is now scheduled for December 23, 2018.

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