DR Congo: Soldier, Others Die In Kasai Power Tussle

Soldiers carried out a punitive expedition in the village, where they destroyed several houses and killed some people.

Four persons including a soldier and three civilians were killed on Thursday, Jan. 20, in the locality of Kilendjale of Mweka territory in Kasai province of the DR Congo during a clash between soldiers and locals. 

Dieudonne Pieme, the Governor of Kasai, who confirmed the incident to HumAngle by telephone deplored the procedure by which individuals considered as dangerous in society were released on bail after being arrested.

“Four persons were effectively killed in Kilendjale when the inhabitants of this village came out with guns to chase away soldiers who were brought in by Kamanda Kams to reinstall him as a chief after he was bailed from detention,” Governor Pieme explained.

Provincial authorities said there has been a conflict over traditional authority pitching Kamanda Kams against the recognised chief Antoine Biaka.

This conflict had already resulted in the deaths of several persons and the burning down of houses which led to the arrest and detention of  Kamanda Kams in the Ilebo prison.

“Immediately he was released, Kamanda Kams went and brought soldiers from Batwa Kadimba to come help him get reinstated as head of the Bambendi tribal group,” Governor Pieme revealed.

“On seeing the soldiers, the population rose up to oppose them and in the clashes that followed, a couple, a man and a soldier were killed.”

HumAngle understands that the soldiers carried out a punitive expedition to the village on Saturday, Jan. 22, during which they burnt down 60  houses to avenge the death of their colleague.

“Soldiers arrived at Kilendjale and burnt down houses. The people have since escaped from the village and are hiding in the bushes,” the Governor said.

“The village is completely deserted. I will be holding an enlarged security meeting this morning at the state prosecutor’s office and I will send the provincial minister of interior to evaluate the situation.”

The Mweka civil society attributed the mounting tension in this part of Kasai province to the fight for repositioning by politicians who are natives of the area.

“Everybody wants to become the leader of Mweka after the weakening of the leadership of Evariste Boshab following the change in regime,” said a member of the local civil society who also questioned the origin of the financial means that permitted Kamanda Kams to bring soldiers to come install him as a traditional ruler.

“Every politician wants to fabricate his own tribal chiefs in order to have a base in view of the 2023 elections.” 


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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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