Eight dead, 35 injured in Congo mining hub amid anti-Govt protests
Eight civilians have been killed and another 35 severely injured by Congolese security forces in the country’s mining hub of Lubumbashi during the past 36 hours, as part of widespread protests against President Joseph Kabila’s hold on power, local groups said.
King Kasongo, a lawyer and activist for Humanism and Human Rights (HDH), told Reuters Wednesday the incidents took place in Lubumbashi’s Katuba district. He also said that demonstrators had targeted government offices, health centres and gas stations.
Human Rights Watch researcher Ida Sawyer confirmed the story through her Twitter account late Tuesday, adding that at least 26 demonstrators have been killed not only in Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, but also in Lubumbashi and elsewhere.
Congolese authorities said there had been no casualties related to protests outside of the capital.
Kabila, who took office in 2001 after his father’s assassination, is constitutionally banned from seeking another term. However, a recent court ruling said he was allowed to remain in power until new elections, originally scheduled for November this year, but not postponed indefinitely.
Etienne Tshisekedi, leader of the country’s biggest opposition party, is asking citizens to resist to what he called Kabila’s “coup d’etat.” In a statement posted on YouTube Tuesday, he called the president’s actions “treason” and appealed to the Congolese people and the international community to no longer recognize Kabila’s authority.
Despite being Africa’s top copper producer and the world’s largest source of cobalt, Congo remains one of the world’s poorest and most unstable countries.