France condemns DR Congo security forces after killings


France blamed Congolese security forces for shooting dead at least six people and wounding of dozens during a protest against President Joseph Kabila organised by the Catholic Church.

“France strongly condemns the violence perpetrated by security forces during demonstrations on 21 January 2018,” a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement.
“It reiterates its call for respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, starting with the right to protest.”

Kabila’s refusal to step down at the end of his mandate in December 2016 triggered a series of street protests with scores killed in Kinshasa. It has emboldened armed rebel groups in different parts of the country.

In the statement, France called for proportionate use of force in the maintenance of law and order.

The instability has stoked fears that the vast, mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo could slide back into the wars that killed millions in the 1990s, mostly from hunger and disease.