Kinshasa, DR Congo | AFP | A deputy police commander and the administrator of Kinshasa’s central market were killed Friday in an attack by unknown assailants that also freed prisoners, police and witnesses said.
The assailants attacked the administrator’s office and the police station at the market allowing inmates being held in cells there to escape.
“There was panic (in the market) because the administrator’s office was attacked as well as the police cells. The prisoners have been freed,” Marie-Pauline Liyolo, a vendor in the market, told AFP.
“With regard to loss of human life, we report the death of the market administrator, and the deputy commander Kamambunzu” of the central market police station, Congolese police spokesman, colonel Pierrot-Rombaut Mwanamputu told AFP.
He added that six police officers were seriously injured and taken to hospital. Also two police stations in the market area were burned.
“The situation is now under control,” he said, and one suspected assailant has been arrested.
Another vendor at the market, Philippe Mbuinga, who witnessed the attack told AFP “there was an exchange of gunfire. The administrator of the market suffered bullet wounds. Everyone fled (the marketplace), the inmates escaped…..”
An AFP correspondent near the scene said he saw scores of people running in all directions from the central market in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Police and officers of the military Republican Guard — the specialised unit that protects the president — were deployed to the area.
Since May there have been several attacks on prisons and police stations.
On June 11 in the restive east of the country 930 inmates broke out of jail during clashes between government troops and militants near Beni in North-Kivu province. Authorities characterised the fighting as an attempt to free prisoners.
Violence has flared in DR Congo as the country is mired in a deep political crisis caused by President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down when his mandate ended last December.
A brokered transitional deal has allowed him to remain in office until elections are held. But the electoral commission recently said elections could not take place by the end of this year as planned, sparking further protests from the opposition and other anti-government movements.