30 sentenced to death over anti-police clashes in DR Congo

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
DR Congo military and police. (Photo by Guerchom Ndebo/Getty Images)
DR Congo military and police. (Photo by Guerchom Ndebo/Getty Images)
  • Thirty people have been sentenced to death for their role in anti-police violence.
  • A policewoman was killed and over 40 people injured when rival Muslim groups fought over the right to mark the end of Ramadan.
  • Ten police vehicles were also damaged during the clash.

Thirty people were sentenced to death in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday for their role in anti-police violence marking the end of Ramadan in the capital Kinshasa.

A policeman was killed on Thursday as rival Muslim groups fought over the right to mark the end of Ramadan at a major sports stadium, officials said.

The government has also confirmed that one policewoman is in critical condition and 46 others were injured with eight in a serious state.

About ten police vehicles were damaged including one that was completely incinerated.

A total of 38 people who had been arrested appeared at Friday's trial.

The trial was broadcast live on public television and lasted until the early hours of Saturday.

A lawyer for civil parties, Chief Tshipamba, told AFP 30 people were sentenced to death and a recording of the proceedings obtained by AFP confirmed the verdict.

ALSO READ | New accusations of sexual abuse in DR Congo's Ebola drive

DR Congo has not carried out death penalties since a moratorium was introduced in 2003. Since then, death sentences are commuted to life imprisonment.

Two rival factions have for years disputed the leadership of the DRC's Comico Muslim federation.

While the case remains before the courts, the two sides remain at odds and occasionally come to blows.

Around 10 percent of the DRC's population are Muslim, most concentrated in the country's east.

But Kinshasa on the Congo river in the west of the vast central African country also traditionally sees mass celebrations for the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in public squares and on major roads.

Speaking with AFP reporters outside the stadium, dismayed worshipper Papy Okitankoyi Kimoto said it was "devastating to do a month of fasting only to have it end in guerilla street scenes like this".

Widely circulated images of the violence and of the injured police officers have prompted authorities to call for religious leaders to be held accountable.

DR Congo's minister of sports Serge Chembo Nkonde has sanctioned the managers of the stadium where the violence took place.

Did you know you can comment on this article? Subscribe to News24 and add your voice to the conversation.
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Do you think South Africa needs tighter restrictions to combat the third wave?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, the situation is grim and needs serious measures
27% - 1021 votes
No, we cannot afford more lockdowns
34% - 1314 votes
Yes, but only in provinces where it is out of control
39% - 1500 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo