21 January 2018

Congo: 40 killed in anti-Kabila demos

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Over 40 people have died in demonstrations in Democratic Republic of Congo against President Joseph Kabila's refusal to step down, said the United Nations high commission for human rights Friday.

"Such high casualty figures suggest a serious disregard by the various police, defense, and security forces of the need to exercise restraint in policing demonstrations. Not only are soldiers participating in law enforcement operations, but all the forces involved are heavily armed and using live ammunition,” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement from the UN offices in Geneva.

Zeid added that 107 people have been injured and there have been 460 arrests. The riots began when Kabila refused to step down despite his term coming to an end on Dec. 19.

The Congolese police spokesman earlier gave a death toll of 22 deaths from the demonstrations and riots.

"Violent repression of dissenting voices and a heavy-handed and irresponsible response to demonstrations risk provoking violence in return by demonstrators and possibly even tipping the constitutional crisis over the president’s future into further conflict across the country," Zeid warned.

Presidential elections were set for November, but were postponed, citing financial and technical problems.

2016.12.25 / 09:57
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