Police Officers Clash With Protesters

Apr 25, 2020

On 24 April 2020, police officers clashed with protesters in the Ma Campagne area of the capital Kinshasa following an announcement that authorities arrested Ne Mwanda Nsemi, the leader of Bundu dia Kongo (BDK), a separatist politico-religious sect. Police officers fired tear gas and warning shots at hundreds of BDK supporters, who gathered in the area following Nsemi’s arrest; several injuries were reported among protesters and police officers. Travelers in Kinshasa should avoid the Ma Campagne area, as additional protests and related violence will likely continue in the near future.

Analyst Comment: Authorities launched the operation to arrest Nsemi following recent fighting between security forces and BDK members in Kongo Central province, located adjacent to Kinshasa province, on 22 April. The clashes — which left at least 15 people dead — occurred as security forces attempted to intervene amid rumors that BDK members were plotting attacks against ethnic minority groups in the area. The Congolese government has banned the BDK movement and deemed Nsemi a threat to state security; Nsemi has previously incited violence among his supporters and called on them to overthrow the government.

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