The death toll in the Democratic Republic of Congo from protests against rising crime has risen to four, with at least six people injured, local media outlets reported late Tuesday.
The demonstrations began in the eastern city of Goma on Monday.
The dead include a commissioner of the Congolese National Police who was killed at his workstation, Sylvain Ekenge, a spokesman for the military governor of North Kivu province, previously told reporters.
Condemning the protestors for attacking law enforcement officers, Ekenge said there was another body whose identity was yet to be established but he suspected it to be another law enforcement officer who was savagely stoned.
“How can you kill a police commissioner — a law enforcement officer — and yet the next day you will ask this same police to provide security?” he said.
Youth activists called the protests a “dead city” day to protest against crime, including the recent death of a foreign exchange trader and a robbery in which two people were killed and several injured.
Protestors also voiced their concern about the state of siege declared by President Felix Tshisekedi in May in North Kivu province and neighboring Ituri province in an attempt to address the growing violence.
They also expressed their opposition to the speculated entry of the Rwandan police into Goma following last week’s signing of a memorandum of understanding in Kigali by Rwanda police and the DR Congo to facilitate cooperation in fighting cross-border crime.
Demonstrators blocked the main entry roads to Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, from early morning, burning tires and erecting barricades along the roads.
Police fired live ammunition and used tear gas to disperse the crowd and the victims were killed in the ensuing clashes.
Business remained at a standstill in the city center as banks, shops, the central market and schools were closed.
Reports also indicated that protestors seized three weapons of the Congolese National Police.
Police said a dozen protestors were arrested during the demonstrations, which spread in several corners of Goma.
Last Saturday, Congolese National Police Commissioner General Dieudonne Amuli Bahigwa, seeking to reduce tensions, said there is no question of Rwandan police entering to maintain order in Goma.