Congo’s bishops said a young Catholic was killed at point-blank range and another was shot dead while trying to return home from anti-government protests.
The protests, organised by the Church’s Lay Coordination Committee, were designed to be peaceful marches ‘to say no to dictatorship,’ said a statement on the bishops’ website on 26th February, the day after the marches. They said police used tear gas and live bullets.
The bishops said Rossy Tshimanga was shot outside Kinshasa’s St Benedict Church. After a second youth was shot, young people set fire to police buildings, the bishops said.
The confrontation was the third in two months to occur after Sunday Masses. Clashes on 31st December and 21st January left 15 people dead, 70 injured and 115 arrested, including a dozen clergy, according to Church and United Nations data.
‘Human rights defenders are denouncing the brutality shown by police in scattering these peaceful demonstrators,’ the bishops said. ‘But if we believe the city of Kinshasa’s police commissioner, no such slip-ups took place.’
Picture: Riot police react as protesters throw stones from Notre Dame Cathedral compound on 25th February in Kinshasa, Congo. (CNS photo/Goran Tomasevic, Reuters).