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DR Congo students protest police killing of maskless classmate

DR Congo students protest police killing of maskless classmate
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Copyright © africanews
ARSENE MPIANA/AFP or licensors

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Students continue protest at the University of Kinshasa campus in the Democratic Republic of Congo where, police are regularly accused of harassment and of pocketing mask fines they collect.

The protest stirred after a police officer shot a student over the weekend for not wearing a mask while filming on the streets of the capital.

The schoolmate of the now deceased student, Honoré Shama, could not hide their frustration.

"We are shocked, we are emotional. He (Honoré Shama) had come to campus to study like any student. He could have been a future executive of the country, but we don't understand what happened. He was killed just because of a face mask that doesn't cost even 100 francs, and now he is dead" said Dan, student in the literature department of the University of Kinshasa.

- How it happened -

Our friend Honore Shama, a student in the faculty of arts at the University of Kinshasa, was filming a video as part of his acting practical work requirement," Patient Odia, a friend who was present at the confrontation said.

"A policeman told him to wear a mask during the filming."

"Despite his (Shama's) explanations and after having showed him a mask, the policeman, who was expecting to be offered money, became infuriated, accused him of resisting and shot him at point-blank range."

Other witnesses told a similar story to the popular Top Congo radio as well as several online news sites.

The policeman responsible has fled and the city's police are searching for him, the head of Kinshasa police, General Sylvano Kasongo said.

"Police have detained two police officers, present during the incident provoked by their irresponsible colleague... as well as the head" of a local police station, he said.

"The search continues to find the fugitive policeman," Kasongo said.

Wearing a mask is obligatory in DR Congo, with transgressors fined 10,000 Congolese frances (five dollars, four euros).

In Kinshasa, police are regularly accused of harassment and of pocketing the mask fines they collect.

DR Congo has registered 47,786 Covid-19 cases and 1,021 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Vaccinations have been halted in the country since July 10, because the AstraZeneca vaccines in stock passed their expiration date.

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