17 dead as DRC police clash with cult members

A man is arrested by a member of the military police after people attempted to block the road with rocks, in the neighbourhood of Majengo in Goma, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. (AFP)
A man is arrested by a member of the military police after people attempted to block the road with rocks, in the neighbourhood of Majengo in Goma, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. (AFP)

Kinshasa - Seventeen people have been killed in clashes between the Democratic republic of Congo police and members of a cult that believes the end of President Joseph Kabila's mandate will usher in the apocalypse, a regional governor said Thursday.

Bienvenu Esimba, governor of DRC's northwestern Mongala province, said the clashes broke out Wednesday in the provincial capital Lisala when members of the sect burned dozens of houses and attacked a market before launching an assault on local electoral commission offices.

"The toll from the clashes is 14 militiamen from the political-religious cult and three dead police officers," Esimba told AFP by telephone, adding that cult leader Wami-Nene was among those killed.

A local Catholic priest confirmed that cult members had launched the attack.

DRC is mired in political crisis two days after Kabila's second and final term in office had been due to end on December 20, with no indications that he is planning to step down.

Esimba said the cult members, armed with AK-47 assault rifles, had burned 47 houses and attacked the offices of the electoral commission because they judged the institution to be "useless".

Troops had to step in to "neutralise" the guru Wami-Nene during the three hours of violence until midday on Wednesday, he said, adding that security forces had "acted in legitimate defence".

The situation was calm by Thursday morning, Esimba said.

Lisala lies on the Congo river deep in the rainforest, some 1 000km northeast of the capital Kinshasa.

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
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When assisting your child with remote learning this year, did you:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Follow the school's comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curriculum?
13% - 201 votes
Adjust the CSE curriculum to suit the family's morals?
24% - 356 votes
Ignore the schools CSE programme and do your own teaching?
63% - 940 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.35
(-0.78)
ZAR/GBP
20.52
(-1.08)
ZAR/EUR
18.41
(-0.97)
ZAR/AUD
11.32
(-0.46)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(-0.65)
Gold
1772.44
(-0.77)
Silver
22.31
(-1.37)
Platinum
976.00
(+1.35)
Brent Crude
48.03
(0.00)
Palladium
2405.50
(-0.76)
All Share
57042.84
(-1.35)
Top 40
52328.25
(-1.31)
Financial 15
11180.62
(-3.43)
Industrial 25
78826.30
(-1.34)
Resource 10
52661.57
(-0.27)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo