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Congo protests enter third day, rights group says 42 dead

Congo protests enter third day, rights group says 42 dead


A human Right Group, said more than 42 persons have been killed in three days of protests in Democratic Republic of Congo (DPR) over a proposed legal reform that the opposition said would keep President Joseph Kabila in power for years.

Paul Nsapu, Secretary- General, The Africa of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), said on Wednesday in Kinshasa that most of the victims had been killed by government security forces as they took part in political protests.

He said the government, which says that only 15 persons have been killed, said most of the victims were shot by private security guards while looting.

“For the most part these people were killed while they were advancing to protest,” he said.

“This is so unfortunate because more than 100 people had been injured, we don’t expect the government to act in the same way as a rebel group,’’ he added.”

A witness who preferred anonymity said on the third day of protests, that police fired teargas at demonstrators at the university campus in the riverside capital Kinshasa.

He said clashes also took place in three other areas of the teeming riverside capital.

The witness said in the central neighbourhood of Matete, a reported security forces firing live rounds at protesters, who had erected barricades of burning tyres in the streets and responded by hurling rocks.

The opposition called the protests on Monday to try to take control of parliament and stop pro-government legislators approving a reform of the electoral code that would require a census before the 2016 presidential vote.

The opposition says that would take years to organise such a national count.

Kabila came to power when his father was shot dead in 2001 and won disputed elections in 2006 and 2011.

The constitution bars him from standing for a third term in next year’s ballot.