UN rights chief blames DRC govt over unrest

2016-09-22 16:27
Demonstrators gather in front of a burning car during an opposition rally in Kinshasa. (Eduardo Soteras, AFP)

Demonstrators gather in front of a burning car during an opposition rally in Kinshasa. (Eduardo Soteras, AFP)

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Geneva- The UN rights chief on Thursday directed blame at Democratic Republic of Congo's government for surging political tensions that sparked deadly clashes in the capital Kinshasa this week.

"The authorities need to pull back from their extremely confrontational position and build bridges with the opposition," Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a statement.

The comments came after the worst unrest in Kinshasa in more than a year, with police confronting opponents of President Joseph Kabila.

The government said 32 people had been killed during two days of clashes, while the opposition said more than three times that number had died.

Opposition groups had organised demonstrations on Monday to demand the resignation of Kabila, who has ruled since 2001 and, under the constitution, should step down on December 20.

Kabila is yet to call elections, fanning fears he plans to stay in power.

Recent events, including civilian deaths and attacks on opposition party headquarters, "provide a stark warning that a large-scale crisis could be just around the corner," Zeid added in a statement.

"The writing is on the wall."

A fragile calm appeared to have been restored in Kinshasa on Thursday as security forces brought the wave of violence and looting to an end.

Read more on:    joseph ­kabila  |  drc  |  central africa  |  drc protests

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