DR Congo MP killed: police

2011-11-23 14:33

Gunmen shot dead an opposition lawmaker in Kinshasa in the latest violent episode ahead of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s weekend elections, police said today.

Marius Gangale of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo – the largest opposition group in parliament – was attacked as he was stuck in a traffic jam late yesterday, Kinshasa police chief Jean de Dieu Oleko told AFP.

“We have opened an investigation. A team is working on the case to provide more elements on the circumstances and motives,” he said.

Thomas Luhaka, another MLC lawmaker, said his colleague was in his car with his wife when they were attacked in a crime-ridden neighbourhood.

“Two people tried to open the back door to break into his pick-up but it was locked. One of them pulled out his gun and opened fire,” he said.

There was no immediate indication that the murder was politically motivated but Luhaka said he had reason to doubt the incident was purely criminal.

“We are asking questions. We already lost a deputy in Kinshasa three years ago, he was shot down by gunmen as he was being escorted by his bodyguard,” he said, referring to former Kinshasa assembly vice-president Daniel Botethi.

The run-up to Sunday’s general elections in the vast central African nation has been marred by violence pitting supporters of President Joseph Kabila against opposition groups.

The MLC is headed by Jean-Pierre Bemba, who had to renounce his bid to contest the presidential election again as he is being held by the International Criminal Court in The Hague over war crimes charges.

Bemba, a former vice-president, was defeated by Kabila in a 2006 run-off.

After the 2008 murder, the MLC had suspended its participation in the national assembly, the senate and the Kinshasa provincial assembly.

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