One policeman was killed and several injured in the riots that marked the end of Ramadan on Thursday 13 May in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. The riots followed a leadership crisis within the Islamic Community of Congo (COMICO)
On the morning of Thursday 13 May, Muslims in the Congolese capital met at the Martyrs stadium to end the fasting of the month of Ramadan. Unfortunately, this gathering turned into riots between two camps. One close to Cheikh Dibondo and the other loyal to Abdallah Mangala. For more than a year, the two leaders have been fighting over the title of « Iman legal representative » of the Islamic Community of Congo (COMICO).
According to witnesses met in the vicinity of the Martyrs’ stadium, « it all started when a faction of Muslims close to Sheikh Dibondo forbade Abdallah Mangala to lead the worship. This attitude did not please the other side. The police intervened to separate the two camps.
Before the end of the fast, the governor of Kinshasa, Gentiny Ngobila, exchanged views with the two camps. In front of the local media, Sheikh Abdallah Mangala, Deputy Secretary General of Comico declared that « the two wings of the Islamic community of Congo will be together to close this holy month through the traditional prayer consecrating the end of Ramadan », while Sheikh Youssouf Djibondo, Secretary General of this organisation affirmed « to have buried the axe of war and that tomorrow both groups will be one for the glory of Allah ». These commitments have not been respected following the violent clashes that took place at the ceremony marking the end of Ramadan.
« We have been issuing warnings for a long time. We should have anticipated. Now, it is the police who are faced with a fact. We are obliged to maintain public order, with the means at hand, » said General Sylvano Kasongo, who pointed to the Governor of Kinshasa: « He should have taken measures long ago.