Clashes between students and police hit province

Confrontations between students and police in three separate incidents at higher education institutions in Kasaï-Oriental province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have resulted in the deaths of two students and a number of injuries.

The two students were killed, and seven injured, during violence at the Institut Supérieur de Développement Rural in Lubao, and about 10 buildings were set on fire, reported Radio Okapi.

The protests occurred after students had accused the regional administrator of talking about them as “badly brought up, badly educated villagers” on a local TV station.

Shops, markets and schools remained closed for days after the demonstrations started at the end of February, reported Radio Okapi. Police intervened to disperse the students on the second day with warning shots, according to a police spokesperson.

But a student representative claimed that, faced with stone-throwing students, the police had opened fire, killing two students and injuring five others. In reprisal, angry students attacked the homes of police officers, burning about 10 houses, reported Radio Okapi.

Police fired warnings shots last Monday to disperse demonstrations by students of the Institut Technique Professionnel in Lusambo that had started the previous week, reported Radio Okapi. No injuries were reported.

The students accused the institute’s head, who was a senior member of the congregation of a religious order, of misappropriating their workshop’s mechanical lathe, which they needed for practical coursework. The head admitted to a regional official he had sold the machine, reported Radio Okapi.

Witnesses said the gunfire continued the whole morning. The protesters attacked church buildings and forced students from other institutions to join their demonstration.

At Mbuji-Mayi, fighting broke out between students from the Institut Supérieur de Technique Médicale (ISTM) and the Institut Technique Médical (ITM) in Diulu, injuring two students, breaking classroom windows and causing suspension of courses at the two institutions, which share the same location, reported Radio Okapi.

Witnesses said the row started after a student from ISTM was perceived to have made a provocative gesture to ITM students.

* This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original report.