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Policeman Dies As Teargas, Bullets Are Fired At Protesters In DRC

At least one policeman died Monday in the eastern DR Congo city of Goma as police fired tear gas and live bullets to break up a protest against rising crime.

The demonstrators converged on arterial roads early in the morning, setting up barricades and burning tyres in the capital of the Nord Kivu province, an AFP reporter said.

Police fired tear gas and used live rounds to disperse the crowd, the reporter said, adding that a policeman was killed and his body taken to the local morgue.

The main market in the city centre was closed, as well as banks and schools, following the call for a general shutdown to denounce rising crime in the city of some 600,000 people.

Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi placed the eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri under a “state of siege” in May to intensify a battle against rebels, with soldiers replacing civil servants in key positions.

The move was initially welcomed by many locals in a region that has been devastated by rebel attacks and home to several militia groups for 25 years.

But several violent incidents have taken place in the last few weeks. Two people have died and several have been injured in two incidents last week.

The protesters also said they “categorically oppose the entry of Rwandan policemen in Goma” as per an agreement signed between the two countries last week to combat cross-border trafficking.

But DRC police chief General Dieudonne Amuli Bahigwa on Saturday said any suggestion that Rwandan soldiers would be charged with maintaining law and order in Goma was “a complete lie”.

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