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One dead in banned protest in Kinshasa

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Protesters sing and dance during a demonstration calling for the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)to step down on January 21, 2018 in Kinshasa.<br />At least one person was killed in Kinshasa on January 21 after security forces opened fire to disperse protesters at a banned march demanding that President Joseph Kabila stand down, the UN and witnesses said.<br />/ AFP PHOTO / JOHN WESSELS

At least one person was killed in Kinshasa on Sunday after security forces opened fire to disperse protesters at a banned march demanding that President Joseph Kabila stand down, the United Nations and witnesses said.

A 16-year-old girl died after shots were aimed at the entrance to the Saint-François-de-Salles church in the Kitambo area of the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jean-Baptise Sondji, a former minister and government opponent, told AFP.

The UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO also reported one dead in the same area, but said the victim was a man.

“An armoured car passed in front of the church. They began firing live bullets, I protected myself,” Sondji, who is also a doctor, said by telephone.

“A girl who was at the left side door of the church was hit by a bullet,” he said, adding that she was already dead when she was taken by taxi to hospital.

He said Red Cross members confirmed the death.

At least 16 people were wounded, four seriously, including two from bullets, during the protest, a nurse at a medical centre near Saint-Joseph church in another popular sector of the city.

Security forces used live bullets and tear gas to disperse the marches after a mass in the church, AFP journalists said.

Tensions were also high in the cities of Kisangani, Lubumbashi, Goma, Beni and Mbuji Mayi, AFP correspondents said.

Catholic church leaders had called for a mass peaceful demonstration against Kabila’s 17-year rule, three weeks after a similar protest on New Year’s Eve that ended in deadly violence.


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