MS Risk Blog

Over a Dozen Killed in Post Election Violence in Republic of Congo

Posted on in Republic of Congo title_rule

The government reported on Tuesday, 5 March that at least seventeen people died Monday in fighting in the capital Brazzaville, adding that they had been killed in a “terror attack” and the subsequent “rapid intervention” by security forces.”

Government spokesman Thierry Moungalla posted on Twitter Tuesday that “three members of the security forces, two civilians and 12 attackers” were killed in the unrest that occurred in the city’s south, adding that “six members of the security forces were inured, as well as some civilians. The number is being evaluated.” Moungalla also stated that six police stations, a town hall and two customs checkpoints were torched along with many vehicles, adding that attackers had made off with “weapons of war and ammunition.” He also stated that “in the course of the police operation during the assault, security forces arrested around fifty former milita members, the perpetrators of the attack,” adding that officials have identified them as former members of the disbanded Ninja Nsiloulou milita. The Ninjas is a rebel group that fought two civil wars in the 1990’s. It is headed by Protestant preacher Frederic Bintsamou, known as Pastor Ntumi, who disbanded the group in return for a junior government position. He recent came out in favor of presidential candidate Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas, who came second to President Denis Sassou Nguesso in last month’s election. According to Moungalla, “the overwhelming evidence held by relevant services clearly points to the active implication of Mr Bintsamou in the events of Monday.” On Monday, thousands of people fled the heavy fighting in southern Brazzaville districts loyal to the opposition. Residents were woken by automatic gunfire and explosions before dawn on Monday. The fighting continued sporadically until sunset, forcing many to spend the night sheltering in churches and government buildings. On Tuesday, troops were deployed across key points of the capital city and manned roadblocks.

On Wednesday, 6 March the runner-up in Republic of Congo’s election called on his supporters to accept the official results of the violence-tainted poll, which returned longtime president Denis Sassou Nguesso to power. Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas disclosed that he did not wish to stir up controversy by challenging Monday’s Constitutional Court ‘s findings that Sassou Nguesso, who has been in power for 32 years, won the 20 March election with over 60 percent of the vote. Speaking to reporters in the capital Brazzaville, Kolelas stated that “I accept the Constitutional Court’s verdict, however questionable,” adding “I nonetheless invite President Sassou Nguesso, the declared winner, to be humble in victory because this election has been marred by all sorts of irregularities.” Kolelas further called on the president to work to heal the divisions brought on by the vote.

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