50 inmates escape Congo prison after attack
May 17 2017 02:03 PM

Dpa/Goma, Congo

More than 50 inmates escaped from a prison in the Congolese capital Kinshasa after a religious sect attacked the jail to release its leader early Wednesday, the government said.

‘Militiamen ... attacked the prison with war weapons,’ Justice Minister Alexis Thambwe Mwamba told the radio station Top Congo FM.

The escapees included Ne Muanda Nsemi, leader of Budu Dia Kongo (BDK), as well as other sect members and other inmates.

‘There were also injuries during the exchange of fire between the attackers and police,’ government spokesman Lambert Mende said, adding that police were searching for the escapees.

Mwamba said a police officer was seriously injured. A prison office and vehicles were set on fire.

Nsemi was arrested in March on charges of planning attacks after calling on the Congolese to rise up against President Joseph Kabila.

Three BDK members had earlier been killed in clashes after police launched an assault on Nsemi's residence in Kinshasa.

The BDK, which seeks to revive the pre-colonial Congo kingdom, is mainly active in south-western Kongo Central province.

The government's decision to postpone the elections due in November 2016 sparked widespread protests, with critics accusing Kabila of trying to extend his rule beyond the constitutional two-term limit. The elections are now due to take place by the end of this year. 

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