A Prisoner Dies Every Two Days In DR Congo

At least 16 prisoners died in one month this year, due to the terrible conditions in prisons and military detention facilities across the country, according to UN figures.

A prisoner died every two days in the Democratic Republic of Congo, new figures suggest.

The United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) has revealed at least sixteen persons died in detention in the DR Congo in the month of October this year, an implied rate of one every two days.

All the fatalities occurred in prisons, police cells or military cells under the responsibility of the DR Congo national army, FARDC, according to the latest communique published Nov 30.

All these prisoners died from illness, malnutrition and other reasons connected to the detention conditions.

During the period under review, the UNJHRO recorded fifteen prison breakouts, all of which took place in South Kivu province.

Detention facilities in the DR Congo are always indicted by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for their bad conditions.

For example, the Makala central prison holds about ten thousand inmates whereas it was constructed to house a maximum of 1,500 prisoners. The Ndolo military prison currently holds 2,000 inmates whereas it was constructed to house a maximum of 500 inmates.

The country is currently working on the rehabilitation of old prisons and the construction of new ones. At least eleven prisons with a capacity of 2,500 persons are expected to be constructed throughout the country within the very near future. They would be distributed according to the old configuration of eleven provinces of the country.

The prisons to be rehabilitated are notably those of Kasapa in Lubumbashi and Buluwo in Likasi.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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