SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 24 June 2021, Thursday |

Police officer beaten to death in Congo Eid clashes

A policeman in Congo’s capital Kinshasa was beaten to death and 46 others were injured as bickering Muslim groups sparred during Eid celebrations on Thursday, a police spokesman reported.

Members of two opponent camps vying for leadership positions in Congo’s Muslim community clashed outside Kinshasa’s Martyrs Stadium early on Thursday, where they had planned to worship together as a demonstration of unity.

Sylvano Kasongo, who heads the Kinshasa police, said “unfortunately, there were extremists who didn’t want the two groups to pray together today.”

Officers fired warning shots and tear gas in order to disperse the crowd. Rioters threw stones and destroyed a police cruiser.

Social media videos depicted a police officer being beaten over the head with sharp objects until he fell to the ground, and then his body was set ablaze.

Kasongo confirmed that one officer had perished after being set ablaze, and that 46 other people were wounded.

Elsewhere in Kinshasa, a crowd marched on the home of a leader of a rival camp and set fire to numerous vehicles before being repelled by police.

In the wake of the events in the capital, Eid celebrations in the eastern city of Goma were called off as a precautionary measure.