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20 Congolese students injured in clashes with Kinshasa police during protest

20 Congolese students injured in clashes with Kinshasa police during protest

Democratic Republic Of Congo

<p>Twenty students were injured in clashes with Congolese police during a demonstration on Wednesday in Kinshasa against an increase in exchange rates for payment of university fees. </p> <p>“We received 23 injured students, including five who were transferred to the Kokolo camp military hospital due to gunshot wounds,” a doctor on duty at the medical center of the Higher Institute of Applied Technology (<span class="caps">ISTA</span>) where the clashes took place told <span class="caps">AFP</span>. </p> <p>When asked by the press about cases of gunshot wounds, General Célestin Kanyama, head of the Kinshasa police denied saying “the police used nothing but non-lethal weapons.” </p> <p>“We are demonstrating against the increase in exchange rates for fees decided by the academic authorities,” Vice President of the <span class="caps">ISTA</span> Student Committee, Makonzo Patrick, told <span class="caps">AFP</span>. </p> <p>According to the students, the exchange rate for the registration fee of $300 has been raised from 967 francs to 1,122 Congolese francs. </p> <p>At midday, the Director General of <span class="caps">ISTA</span>, Kasengedia Mutumbe, announced the downward revision of the exchange rate. </p> <p>“In the name of social peace at <span class="caps">ISTA</span>, we have lowered the rate to 967 Congolese francs to the US dollar,” he told <span class="caps">AFP</span>. </p> <p><span class="caps">AFP</span> reports that more than a hundred Congolese police had surrounded the university premises in the morning and fired tear gas to classrooms. </p> <p>Two vehicles were burned while several shops were damaged. </p> <p>Later in the day, the Minister of Higher and University Education, Théophile Mbemba, decided to suspend Kasengedia Mutumbe from office “for investigative reasons,” according to a statement released Wednesday night on state television. </p> <p>On Wednesday night, about twenty police officers remained on guard near the campus. </p> <p>The violence occurred at a time when the country is facing a tensed climate.</p>
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