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DRC embassy in PTA shuts its doors amid


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Eyewitness News

DRC embassy in PTA shuts its doors amid protests over Kabila’s term

Congolese nationals living in SA clashed with police while expressing their dissatisfaction with Kabila’s refusal to step down.

Almost 200 Congolese nationals protested at the Democratic Republic of Congo embassy in Pretoria as part of a worldwide protest by Congolese nationals at embassies calling on their President Joseph Kabila to step down. Picture: ER24.

Almost 200 Congolese nationals protested at the Democratic Republic of Congo embassy in Pretoria as part of a worldwide protest by Congolese nationals at embassies calling on their President Joseph Kabila to step down. Picture: ER24.

 

Pelane Phakgadi | about 2 hours ago

JOHANNESBURG – South Africans who want to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will not be able to obtain visas from the embassy in Pretoria until next year as the country’s ambassador to South Africa has shut down operations.

Bene M’poko said he had to close the embassy until 4 January because he fears for the safety of his staff after protests in front of the offices turned violent on Tuesday.

Congolese nationals living in South Africa clashed with police while expressing their dissatisfaction with Kabila’s refusal to step down.

His term expired on Tuesday but he remains in office.

With violent protests tearing through the DRC resident’s living outside that country marched on Congolese embassies across the world.

In Pretoria, scores of Congolese nationals tried to force entry into the DRC embassy but were met by rubber bullets from the police.

The Department of International Relations’ Clayson Monyela says the current situation in the DRC is a worry to the South African government.

“And we, accordingly, call on all parties to seek only peaceful resolutions.”

Monyela says all the relevant parties should exercise restraint and take urgent steps to end the violence in the DRC which he says would also contribute to peace in the SADC region.

It is unclear if Kabila will agree to the call to step down which may also end the violence in the DRC.

SEVERAL DEAD IN DRC

Security forces shot dead several protesters who had gathered in the streets of Kinshasa on Tuesday to demand that Kabila step down after his mandate expired overnight.

Scattered protests started on Tuesday, and opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi called on the Congolese people to peacefully resist Kabila, who has remained in power beyond his constitutional mandate with no election to pick a successor.

Gunfire crackled in several districts of the capital Kinshasa, a city of 12 million, as measures to thwart dissent raised fears of bloody repression.

“On the issue of deaths, it looks bad,” the UN human rights director for Congo, Jose Maria Aranaz, told Reuters by telephone. “We are reviewing allegations of up to 20 civilians killed, but it (the information) is pretty solid.”

At least two civilians were killed overnight when soldiers opened fire during clashes in the neighbourhood of Kingabwa, two witnesses said. The government spokesman could not be reached for comment and a police spokesman said he did not have information.

With a ban on demonstrations in force, and a heavy military presence, Kinshasa’s normally busy main boulevards were for the most part deserted as pockets of youths gathered in side streets only to be dispersed by the volleys of teargas.

UN peacekeepers in armoured personnel carriers patrolled the streets, at one point cheered on by a crowd shouting: “Kabila, know that your mandate is finished!”

“I think there will be trouble. The people are saying Kabila has to leave,” said student Joe Doublier, 20, peering nervously out of his house in the opposition stronghold of Limete, where youths burned tyres and pieces of wood in the streets.

“It’s been 16 years and nothing has changed,” he said, referring to the time Kabila has been in power since his father was assassinated in 2001.

In Lubumbashi, a city in the heart of Africa’s richest copper mining area, police and Kabila’s elite military Republican Guard fired live bullets to prevent demonstrations, Gregoire Mulamba, a local human rights activist, told Reuters.

Local activist Jean-Pierre Muteba said there was one death, a 14-year-old boy shot by police. A police spokesman said he did not have enough information to comment.

The mayor of Lubumbashi, Jean Oscar Sanguza, told Reuters security forces had intervened to stop looters, and denied reports of deaths in the confrontations.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

 



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