At least six civilians died on Sunday when security forces clashed with Catholic Churchgoers who held protests demanding that President Joseph Kabila leaves power, the United Nations said on Monday.
Congolese soldiers fired teargas and live rounds to disperse thousands of Catholic Churchgoers as they tried to march throught streets protesting Kabila’s refusal to leave power.
Florence Marchal, UN Mission spokesperson in Congo said at least six civilians were killed in Kinshasa while 57 people were injured nationwide, including 20 in Kinshasa, and 111 were arrested throughout Congo, she said
Police spokesman Colonel Pierrot Mwanamputu had warned Churchgoers against participating in an illegal protest.
All the main political opposition leaders, civil society groups, and citizens’ movements supported the call to protest, with many demanding Kabila’s resignation.
During the previous anti-Kabila march held on December 31 2017, police and security forces opened fire on demonstrators, human rights groups said. Demonstrators said 12 churchgoers died, the UN said 5, and the government said nobody died.
Human Rights Watch have accused Security forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo of using excessive force, including teargas and live ammunition, against peaceful protesters at Catholic churches.
“Kabila and his coterie appear ready to use all available means to crush, silence and eliminate any opposition to their efforts to stay in power,” Human Rights Watch has said.
In office since 2001 after the assassination of his father Laurent Kabila, President Kabila’s constitutional term ended in December 2016, but he has refused to step down.
The Catholic Church leadership has vowed to continue calling on their faithful to come out in peaceful protests to demand President Joseph Kabila respects the constitution and leave power peacefully. Read More:Armed Forces Kill 5 as Catholic Churchgoers Hold Anti-Kabila Protests in DRC