Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo capital Kinshasa have launched a manhunt for over 50 prisoners who escaped Wednesday after supporters of Christian sect leader Ne Muanda Nsemi freed him from the Makala central prison.
Police spokesperson Colonel Pierrot Mwana Mputu called on residents to help in the capture of the escapees who are considered dangerous.
“Several dangerous prisoners and perpetrators of vicious crimes have escaped. The police is calling for collaboration with Kinshasa residents to give up all those criminals and escapees who will be hiding in the various districts of the city,” he was quoted by local radio station Radio Okapi.
Colonel Mwana said the corporation of the people alone can help capture the escapees to avoid an upsurge of crime.
Several dangerous prisoners and perpetrators of vicious crimes have escaped. The police is calling for collaboration with Kinshasa residents to give up all those criminals and escapees who will be hiding in the city.
He added that some escapees have been arrested and returned to the prison, without giving further details.
It is reported that several inmates were killed during the prison raid on Wednesday, but no official figure has been released in that regard.
The actual number of prisoners that escaped has also not been disclosed, but they include self-styled prophet and leader of the Bundu dia Kongo movement Ne Muanda Nsemi who was arrested in March after a series of deadly clashes between his supporters and police, government spokesman Lambert Mende said.
Nsemi has a strong following in southwestern Congo and wants to revive the Kongo kingdom, which flourished for centuries around the mouth of the Congo River.
Clashes between his followers and security forces have compounded wider tensions across Congo since President Joseph Kabila refused to step down when his mandate expired in December, raising fears of renewed civil conflict.
At least six of Nsemi’s supporters were killed earlier this year during the two-week standoff at his Kinshasa residence that led to his capture.