DRC police warn protesting students to leave Kinshasa campus

2020-01-08 20:26
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Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo capital on Wednesday gave protesting students a day to leave Kinshasa University campus after violent clashes this week left one policeman dead.

The government on Tuesday gave students a 48-hour deadline to leave their dormitories and end protests over a near doubling of tuition fees.

The ultimatum came after one policeman was killed and two were wounded in clashes that forced local officials to close down the university.

Any student found on the campus on Thursday "will be considered an infiltrator, an enemy of the Republic, and in league with the bandits" who killed the officer, a police statement said.

"Police will use all legal means" to evacuate the campus and residences, it said, warning students to leave voluntarily before police carry out a forced eviction.

Some students had already begun leaving the campus residences, one science major told AFP by telephone, giving his name only as Pierre.

Congolese media have reported that some Unikin students from outside the capital are worried they will have to sleep in the streets without a place to stay.

The tuition fees are calculated in US dollars, against which the national currency has slumped from 920 to 1 700 francs.

In real terms, the fees totalled 253 000 francs for the last academic year and soared to 485 000 francs ($285/255 euros) for the present one.

Vital Kamerhe, the president's cabinet director, told actualite.cd news site that those responsible for killing the policeman were "not students at Unikin, but infiltrators".

DRC President Felix Tshisekedi will meet a committee of students to discuss the dispute at his next cabinet meeting on Friday, he said.

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