South African diplomat wounded in Congo shooting


A South African diplomat was shot and wounded by soldiers after failing to stop at a roadblock in the Congolese capital Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo’s foreign minister said.

The shooting occurred in the sprawling riverside capital’s Gombe district, home to most government ministries and diplomatic missions, in the early morning hours, Alexis Thambwe Mwamba told Reuters.
“She drove through a roadblock near the prime minister’s office. This road was blocked off and leads to the presidency. She refused to stop despite being signalled to do so,” the minister said.

He said soldiers at the roadblock opened fire on the vehicle, wounding the diplomat.
“She was wounded but is not in danger. We’ve launched an investigation,” Thambwe Mwamba said.

South Africa’s diplomatic mission in Congo said in a statement that the victim of the shooting was Maryse Ash, who works as the political secretary in the embassy and was travelling in a clearly marked diplomatic car.
“Ms. Ash’s diplomatic vehicle was fired upon by members of the Congolese Republican Guard. The diplomat had mistakenly taken a wrong turn and was leaving the vicinity of the presidential area when fired upon,” the statement read.

Police at the scene of the incident told Reuters that the shooting occurred around 2 am.

Reuters witnesses saw broken glass from the car’s windshield on the ground around 50 metres from the roadblock, which is marked by around a half dozen traffic cones, indicating that Ash was likely outside of the restricted area when she was shot.
“Ms Ash suffered serious facial injuries from glass and shrapnel. She remains in hospital in a stable condition, and will fly to South Africa for further treatment,” the statement continued.