At least four dead in DR Congo clashes: report

At least three police officers and one civilian were killed in clashes between protesters and the police in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Monday morning, MONUSCO(UN’s mission in DRC)-backed media outlet Radio Okapi reported Monday, citing local police.

Tension has been on the rise following a “dead city” strike in Goma, capital of DRC’s North Kivu province, since Monday morning against growing crime in the region and the speculated presence of Rwandan police in DRC.

Gunfire rang out across Goma, a city of 2 million near the Rwandan border, and demonstrators later put up barricades in several areas, according to a report from AP.

Local police confirmed the provisional casualty, adding that police officers had been deployed to contain the situation.

On December 13, Rwanda National Police (RNP) and Congolese National Police (PNC) signed a memorandum of understanding to formalize the cross-border bilateral cooperation in various pressing matters of policing, which sparked speculations of possible presence of RNP in DR Congo.

“There are no Rwandan police officers on the Congolese soil. The PNC fully ensures its sovereign mission to protect and secure people and their property,” reassured Saturday in Kinshasa PNC’s commissioner general, General Dieudonne Amuli Bahigwa.

The DRC northeastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, long plagued by violence incurred by armed groups, especially rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), had been under a state of siege since May 6 due to violence by armed groups, especially the ADF rebels.

(With input from Xinhua, AP)