One dead as police, ‘okada’ riders clash in Kinshasa

A clash Monday between motorbike taxi drivers and police left one dead and three injured in a major artery of the DR Congo capital Kinshasa, police said.

One of the drivers was shot dead, while two officers and a passenger were “seriously injured” and a commuter bus was torched, Kinshasa police chief General Sylvano Kasongo told AFP.

The clash erupted when drivers “tried to prevent the arrest of (a colleague) who caused a serious accident by driving dangerously the wrong way,” he said.

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“Two policemen were seriously injured by projectiles, a woman was seriously injured in the accident, and a (state-run commuter bus) was  burned,” he said, adding that traffic was disrupted for “a few hours”.

He said two police officers opened fire and four of the drivers set fire to the bus in the clash on Kasa-Vubu Avenue, taken each day by many of the city’s 10 million-strong population.

The officers and the surviving drivers have been arrested and will face military and civilian prosecution respectively, Kasongo said.

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Three witnesses told AFP they heard gunshots at regular intervals for at least an hour.

Clashes pitting the drivers of taxis, buses or motorcycle taxis against police are a frequent occurrence in the streets of Kinshasa, with drivers accused of flouting traffic regulations and police accused of over-zealous enforcement.


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