France on Monday blamed Congolese security forces for the shooting dead of 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 the security forces during the demonstrations organised on 21 January 2018,” a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement.
France strongly condemns the violence perpetrated by the security forces during the demonstrations yesterday in the #DRC and deplores the loss of life. It reiterates its call for the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms. https://t.co/rdiYMBbvAn pic.twitter.com/M3nKs4M0p4— France Diplomacy?? (@francediplo_EN) January 22, 2018
“It reiterates its call for respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, starting with the right to protest.”
France also expressed concern about the violence and threats against United Nations observers and called upon the Congolese authorities to shed full light on this violence so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice.
Kabila’s refusal to step down at the end of his mandate in December 2016 has triggered a series of street protests in which scores have been killed in Kinshasa. It has also emboldened armed rebel groups in different parts of the country.
In its statement, France said it is ‘ready to support the electoral process aimed at achieving a peaceful and democratic transfer of power in the Democratic Republic of Congo’.
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.