BENI, DR Congo, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 18th Augst,2016) - A policeman and a protestor were killed Wednesday in clashes at a demonstration in the Democratic Republic of Congo over the government's alleged failure to protect civilians, after a gruesome massacre in the east of the country. Security forces stepped in after hundreds gathered in the town's main street on the last day of a three-day mourning period called by civil society groups over the murder of dozens of people on Saturday night.
Police and troops fired tear gas and warning shots to break up an angry protest in the town of Beni where 51 civilians were hacked to death, in the latest in a string of attacks blamed on rebels. "A policeman and a civilian were killed, nine people were injured, six civilians and three soldiers," said Edmond Masumbuko, the mayor of Beni in North Kivu province. The United States has warned of more violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, should President Joseph Kabila hold on to power after his mandate expires in December.
The civilian killed Wednesday was shot by a policeman at point blank range, according to a witness who would not be named. The head of Beni's civil society movement Gilbert Kambale also said the young man was killed by a policeman. At least six demonstrators were arrested in a violent manner and thrown into a military jeep to be taken to an unknown destination, an AFP reporter on the scene said. An effigy of Kabila was burned in the town's main market, as were flags of Kabila's ruling People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD), said the reporter.
Tensions remained high by early evening, with sporadic gunfire while demonstrators continued to barricade some streets. - Crowds boo premier - ====================== The deadly protests came a day after Prime Minister Augustin Matata was booed by hundreds of demonstrators outside Beni's town hall, where he gave a short speech after a three-hour whistle-stop visit. Matata visited the massacre site along with senior army and police officials.
"What did he come for? We don't need humanitarian aid, but peace," said Germain Katembo, a survivor of the weekend massacre who lost three members of his family. Beni and the surrounding area have suffered a series of massacres in recent times, mostly involving knives, leaving some 650 people dead since October 2014. The killings have been blamed by the government and the UN mission in the country on the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a partly Islamist armed group of Ugandan origin.
The group has been present in Democratic Republic of Congo for more than two decades and is accused of a litany of human rights abuses. The ADF, opposed to Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, is thought to be deeply embroiled in criminal networks funded by kidnappings, smuggling and logging. A report published in March by the Congo Research Group at New York University, which looked into the massacres around Beni, claimed that soldiers from the regular army had also participated in the killings.