2 shot dead during demonstration against DRC president

Protesters demand President Joseph Kabila to step down from office

2 shot dead during demonstration against DRC president File photo

By Godfrey Olukya

ARU, Democratic Republic of Congo

Congolese security forces shot dead two people for “illegally” demonstrating against President Joseph Kabila and urging him to step down from office, Human Rights Watch said in a statement Sunday.

On Saturday, authorities banned demonstrations that the Catholic Church had for sometime announced would take place Sunday in the entire country.

Sunday marks one year since an agreement was signed between the DRC government and opposition that stipulated that Kabila would leave office before the end of 2017. The agreement came after DRC Catholic Bishops brokered peace talks between the two parties meant to stop bloodshed.

The talks came after Kabila had refused to give up power on Dec. 19, 2016, when his term in office expired which led to protests in which over 40 people were killed by security agencies.

In a statement, Human Rights Watch Central Africa Director Ida Sawyer said: “Two men have been killed outside St. Alphonse church in the Matete district of the capital Kinshasa.''

She condemned the high-handedness of the security officers.

Although the organizers of the demonstration informed police as required by law about their intentions to hold demonstrations today, police banned any demonstration claiming that it lacked sufficient manpower to supervise the demonstrations.

Kabila has been in power since 2001. His refusal to leave power after the expiry of his second term of office led to cropping up of numerous militia groups claiming to be fighting against his overstay in power.

In Kasai region alone, according to the Catholic Church, 3,000 people have been killed since August 2016 and over 1 million displaced due to clashes between police and militiamen.

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