There was sporadic gunfire across Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a day after deadly clashes between the security forces and anti-government protesters.
We are very concerned by the excessive use of force by state agents, notably the (police), the Republican Guard, the military police and the National Agency of Intelligence.
Reuters reports that even though some Kinshasa residents ventured from their homes on Wednesday morning, most streets were clear of traffic and public transport was extremely limited. There were reports of arrests by the security agencies of protesters.
The United Nations mission in the DRC confirmed on Wednesday that 19 people had died and 45 others injured from gunshots during Tuesday’s protest. The figure is one less than what they reported yesterday.
‘‘We are very concerned by the excessive use of force by state agents, notably the (police), the Republican Guard, the military police and the National Agency of Intelligence,’‘ Jose Maria Aranaz, head of the UN human rights office in Kinshasa told reporters.
The DRC has never seen a peaceful transition of power and there are continental and global fears that the current situation could spiral into a wider conflict within the Great Lakes region. The main opposition bloc has called on citizens not to recognize Kabila as the president.
Another bloc has meanwhile entered an agreement with the government under the aegis of the African Union. That agreement has earned one of their members the post of Prime Minister in the new government announced by Kabila on Tuesday.
Despite the AU negotiated deal, the Catholic Church in the country has also been holding a new set of talks aimed at resolving the impasse. Kabila is currently in power based on a constitutional court ruling that he can stay on till the next elections are held.