At least nine people died in clashes in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that erupted when government soldiers prevented former fighters from leaving a camp for demobilized militia groups, officials said on Thursday. The camp houses ex-fighters from the Rwandan-backed M23, which participated in rebellions against the government of President Joseph Kabila in 2012 and 2013, and the Mai Mai militia, whose allegiance fluctuated during the conflicts, a U.N. official said.
Emmanuel Cole, president of the Bill Clinton Foundation for Peace, a human rights NGO in Kinshasa, said six ex-militia fighters and three soldiers died in Wednesday’s clashes.
A few days after the medical evacuation of Moise Katumbi to South Africa, the opposition is trying to regroup in Lubumbashi in the southeastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The G7, a coalition of seven parties have been holding discussions in the absence of Katumbi.
Shambuyi Tshivuadi Mukwa Lukusa, Federal President of the Congress of Democrats for Social Progress said: “This departure is not good. It looks like an open door to a forced exile. Apparently, this is a trap that people intended for Moise but the people are more than Kabila. It is the people who gave power to Kabila. Despite the tanks and everything we see here, the people are there and the last word will always come back from people.”
Fresh controversy has emerged over the inclusive political dialogue supposed to be held in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to solve the political crisis that has engulfed the country.
A group of civil society members have rejected the list of participants released by the committee preparing for the talks, saying they are linked to political parties.
The supposed talks is now uncertain and analysts warn of a return to civil war, if no urgent measures are taken to avert the crisis.