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DRC: 30 people handed death sentence after anti-police violence

16.05.2021

Dozens of police were injured and one officer was killed this week as rival Muslim factions clashed in Kinshasa during the Islamic Eid al-Fitr holiday.

Thirty people were handed the death sentence in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday after clashes between two rival Muslim factions this week killed one police officer and injured dozens of members of law enforcement.

The fighting in the country's capital, Kinshasa, occurred on Thursday during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. 

The two Muslim groups had clashed in front of Martyrs' Stadium in the city. The factions were feuding over the right to hold Eid celebrations in the stadium.

What have authorities said about the clashes?

Congolese authorities said one policewoman was in critical condition and 46 were injured from the violence. Ten police vehicles were damaged due to the clashes. 

Participants in the fighting were convicted on the charges of criminal conspiracy, rebellion and attempted murder, according to local Congolese media. The trial for the 38 rioters began on Friday and lasted into the early hours of Saturday.

"Although leaders of the two wings of the Muslim community had guaranteed the governor of Kinshasa that they would celebrate the end of Ramadan together, unfortunately a policeman was killed in clashes," Congolese government spokesman Charles Mbumamuntu said Thursday about the violence.

Kinshasa typically sees massive celebrations during the Eid holiday. The DRC has a Muslim population of around 10%. 

02:04 mins.
DW News | 06.05.2021

Surge in violence exacerbates Congo humanitarian crisis

What's the current political situation in the DRC?

The DRC has faced security, humanitarian and health crises in recent years.

Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi recently ordered two eastern provinces be put under a state of emergency due to the presence of armed groups. Armed militias have killed at least 300 people in the DRC so far this year.

The armed conflict involving these militias has displaced millions within the country.

The DRC is also battling the COVID-19 pandemic, and has dealt with Ebola and measles outbreaks in the past few years, killing thousands of Congolese.

The instability has hampered the country's economy, despite the DRC being one the richest nations in the world in regards to natural resources. 

wd/sri (AFP, Reuters)