Goma riot after killing by Zaire troops

RIOTS broke out yesterday following the killing early in the morning of a young Zairean man by pillaging members of President Mobutu Sese Seko's elite presidential guard. The demonstrators were quickly dispersed by soldiers firing into the air.

Later, some 2,000 mourners, many in trucks commandeered from international aid agencies, joined a funeral procession to a local cemetery, where Jumaine Mokili, 22, was buried after a eulogy by his brother.

The rioting surprised foreign observers, who had predicted that the presence in eastern Zaire of as many as 1 million Rwandan refugees - not President Mobutu's own troops - would eventually trigger unrest among local Zaireans, whose nerves are frayed to breaking point by the humanitarian crisis engulfing the region.

The slaying and subsequent demonstration also represents an embarrassment for President Mobutu, who has been eager to assist the international aid effort here, hoping it will help him to rehabilitate his tattered image abroad, where he is mostly viewed as a corrupt despot.

According to a member of the Zairean national guard who requested anonymity, Mokili, one of the prominent money-changers who conduct business on the main street of this Zairean border town, was shot dead early yesterday morning after soldiers entered his home and attempted to rob him.

An hour later, several hundred mostly young demonstrators, chanting 'Go back to Kinshasa]', bore Mokili's bloody body through the streets on a stretcher, stopping at the home of the local governor to hurl epithets and at a military compound to hurl rocks.

When the swelling crowds began littering the streets, hurling stones and ripping up pavements to erect road blocks, Zairean soldiers, ignoring the orders of their commanding officers, fired warning shots from their Russian-made AK-47s and the crowds fled.

In mid-July, when Rwandan refugees were flooding into Zaire, President Mobutu, who has ruled for 26 years, deployed some 400 choice presidential guards and paratroopers to Goma to help local troops maintain order.

But these forces are viewed by local residents, and even by locally-based Zairean soldiers, as a virtual occupying army. Loyalties in the government and military of Zaire are almost entirely local.

And, doing nothing to alter their widespread reputation for brutality and venality, these soldiers nightly go from door to door to harass and plunder. 'They steal money, televisions, and anything they can get their hands on,' said a 39-year-old construction engineer. 'They've finished robbing Rwandan soldiers and refugees so now they've turned to us.'

BUJUMBURA - At least seven people were wounded, one seriously, in Burundi's capital, Bujumbura, yesterday when a grenade was hurled into the main market, raising fears that the country will follow Rwanda into ethnic conflict, Reuter reports.

The attack took place at noon despite a heavy military presence on the streets to quell ethnic unrest and strikes. It was not known who threw the grenade.

Witnesses said the explosion blew holes in the market's roof and there were pools of blood on the floor among the wooden stalls. The incident further raised an already charged political atmosphere. The army quickly moved to head off further attacks and sealed off a northern surburb of Ngagara, a mainly Tutsi neighbourhood where armed opposition militants roam.

The mainly Tutsi army cordoned off Burundi's university in the capital after reports that students were planning demonstrations in support of the detained opposition leader, Mathias Hitimana. He heads the Tutsi-led Party for the Reconciliation of the People. His arrest on Sunday sparked clashes by his followers and brought Bujumbura to a standstill on Monday and Tuesday. Up to 15 people were killed.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor