HRW denounces excessive use of force against Bundu dia Kongo

There was indeed an excessive use of force by the police in the anti Bundu dia Kongo (“Kingdom of Congo” in Kikongo, BDK) operations between April 13 and 24, 2020. This is in any case what says the human rights organization Human Rights Watch.

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According to this NGO, at least 55 people were killed and many others injured between April 13 and 24 in the repression of this politico-religious movement. The leader of the Bundu dia Kongo, Zacharie Badiengila, alias Ne Muanda Nsemi, has since been arrested and has been transferred to a hospital for psychological tests. Authorities accuse his supporters of being behind the violence.

But Lewis Mudge, in charge of central Africa at HRW, calls for investigations against two police operations that have turned into bloodshed: ” The authorities must respond to BDK’s provocations, that is clear. But the answer must be in a court of law, not in a bloodbath. Our investigation shows that during the incidents that took place between April 13 and 24, BDK followers were mostly armed with sticks. Very few of them had a homemade firearm. But the police opened fire without distinguishing what was in front of them. First, in Sangololo, where the police surrounded a house in the middle of the night, where a few dozen followers were gathered to prepare the demonstrations. The authorities tell us that the police were attacked by these BDK members with machetes and arrows. But our investigation showed that the police opened fire on the houses before setting them on fire. And two days later, in Kinshasa, when the police entered the BDK leader’s residence to arrest him, they fired without restraint. So in Sangololo as in Kinshasa, it ended in bloodshed due to a clearly excessive use of force. ”

Human Rights Watch calls on the authorities to shed light on these events.

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