At least eleven detainees have died since the beginning of the year in Kinshasa’s largest prison, due to a shortage of food and medicine, prison and humanitarian sources have learned.
“Since January 1, we have recorded eleven deaths. The last three died yesterday (Monday) because there was no medicine to care for them and their families had no means, ”an official at Makala central prison told AFP. Kinshasa on condition of anonymity.
« Since October, the state has not disbursed funds to supply the prison with medicine and food, » he added.
« Makala prison and almost all prisons in the country are no longer supplied with food and medicine, » said Emmanuel Cole, head of a Congolese organization active in prison settings in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
« It is true, there has been a delay in payment to suppliers, which justifies these stock-outs at Makala central prison. But the situation has been regularized since « Monday, Justice Minister Célestin Tunda Ya Kasende told AFP.
“There are almost 9,000 prisoners. The number of a dozen dead can be understood. But we also need doctors to tell us if these deaths are due to the shortage of medicines and food, ”he added.
The central prison of Makala was built during the Belgian colonization to receive 1,500 people. To date, it has “8,618 detainees” including “500 convicted”, according to Mr. Cole.
Rehabilitation of at least three pavilions is underway, forcing prisoners to live in greater proximity.
Dating back to the colonial era, the DRC’s prisons are particularly dilapidated and overcrowded. The detainees live there in disastrous hygienic conditions, exposed to many diseases, dehydration and malnutrition.