Press Statement – New Year in DRC

In the DRC the last day of 2017 was marked by protests across the country. The  police, presidential security guards and military  responded with extreme and unnecessary brutality towards protestors and non-protesting citizens alike. Once again members of the Catholic clergy in standing up for the human rights of the nation, have been violently assaulted. In many regions priests  have been arrested, kidnapped, assaulted and murdered as they have supported the people in yet another mass protest against the extremely unpopular presidency of Joseph Kabila who has over-stayed his presidential term limit and continues to allow the suffering of the nation and its occupation by Rwanda and other external forces .

Demonstrators holding a placard that reads: The DRC under occupation, Rwandan  and French support of the Ugandan and Rwandan terrorists. Paul Kagame commits genocide in DRC.

Source: Info DRC / Kinshasa Alert

At least 7 people were killed on Sunday, December 31, during a march organized by the Laic Coordination Committee (CLC), including 6 in Kinshasa and 1 in Kananga; based on information collected from several independent sources.

Mr George Kapiamba, Coordinator of the Congolese Association for Access to Justice (ACAJ) drew up a report of at least 118 people who were arrested including 5 priests in some cities in the interior of the country as follows:

  • Kananga : 67 arrests. 5 priests also arrested including 1 still in detention, 35 wounded, 23 of them seriously and one fatally ( in the Kingabwa district).
  • Lubumbashi : 22 arrests, 6 wounded including 4 seriously wounded.
  • Kamina: 27 arrests, 17 injured including 5 seriously wounded.
  • Kindu: 2 arrests (both are LUCHA activists)

In Kinshasa at least 15 people were wounded including 3 hit by live ammunition at the Don Bosco Parish church in the commune of Masina according to a number of journalists present. The police announced the death of a policeman in the commune of Masina.

Elsewhere people attending church were injured as they were among those targeted by the security services while they were inside  attending Mass.This took place at St.Michael`s Parish in Bandalungwa. According to eyewitness reports the Mass was in progress when the police fired tear gas into the church causing mayhem to the congregation.

This lady is a victim of the State`s crackdown on demonstrators. She is not believed to have been part of any demonstration but one of the congregation of  a Catholic church that was stormed by the police.

Elsewhere the parish priest and vicar of St Francis Church in Kitambo Velodrome were kidnapped and taken to an unknown location by the security services.

A high ranking, Rwandan-speaking  police officer was seen using live ammunition on demonstrators in Kitambo parish.

In Matete there were several deaths , injuries, kidnappings and the arrest of priests as places of worship were vandalized by security services.

In Kinsuka members of DEMIAP ( military intelligence) attacked activists in their homes.

It is being repeatedly reported that live ammunition is being used on demonstrators by the security forces.Military personnel dressed in military uniform worked alongside armed personnel dressed in civilian clothing. Both were used as back-up for the police who were positioned in front of churches and in the main areas where there were demonstrations  by citizens and members of the clergy.

Joseph Kabila left Goma and went to deliver a speech in Lubumbashi from where he was observing the situation before making his decision to return to Kinshasa once the demonstrations had been cleared.

A priest was killed at St Dominic parish in Limete where a mother was also killed by a bullet in the head. In Kassavubu 10 youths were killed.

Another priest was killed in Matete.

In Kananga a citizen died also as a result of the security services use of live ammunition on protestors.