60 killed, scores burnt in DR Congo road disaster

Dozens of people have been killed while 100 others burnt beyond recognition, after an oil tanker collided with a vehicle on an arterial highway in the west of DR Congo. (Social media)
Updated 06 October 2018

60 killed, scores burnt in DR Congo road disaster

KINSHASA: At least 60 people died and scores suffered serious burns on Saturday after an oil tanker collided with a vehicle on an arterial highway in the west of DR Congo.
The accident occurred on a highway linking the capital Kinshasa to the country's sole seaport at Matadi on the Atlantic Ocean.
"We have counted 53 charred bodies," said Florian, a witness, speaking at the disaster site in the village of Mbuba, about 120 kilometres (100 miles) west of Kinshasa.
Seven others with grievous burn injuries died at the Saint-Luc hospital in Kisantu, a nearby city, he said.
"We have about 50 dead and a 100 people have suffered second degree burns," Atou Matabuana, the interim governor of Kongo Central region, had said earlier Saturday.
A doctor at the Saint-Luc hospital told AFP that they had taken in many patients "for the most part with second-degree burn injuries.
"We are trying to help them, we are trying to rehydrate them but sadly there are those who are dying," Doctor Tresor said.
"Two mobile clinics are evacuating the injured," he said.
Another witness at the village said the accident happened early Saturday.
"Many people died in the marketplace," said Blaise Matumona.
The UN's Okapi radio said "the flames spread rapidly engulfing nearby houses."
Acting governor Matabuana said: "We have taken measures to take charge of all the victims."
But photographs on social media showed the injured being transported on motorbikes and private cars. A witness said he had not seen any ambulance at the site.
"No ambulance and no hospital worthy of its name in Kisantu. Preventing this kind of disaster, let's just not speak about it..." said the pro-democracy movement Lucha (Struggle for Change) in a tweet.

The UN mission in DRC, known by its French acronym MONUSCO, said it had sent nine ambulances to the spot to evacuate the injured.
Overloaded trucks carrying goods as well as oil tankers regularly ply this highway.


Philadelphia curfew as anger boils over police killing of Black man

Updated 29 October 2020

Philadelphia curfew as anger boils over police killing of Black man

  • Thousands of people have taken to Philadelphia’s streets, with looting and violence breaking out, since police on Monday shot dead 27-year-old Walter Wallace
  • The US has seen a wave of protests and rioting since the police killing of George Floyd in May in Minnesota, when an officer was filmed pressing his knee to handcuffed Floyd’s neck

PHILADELPHIA: Officials in the US city of Philadelphia announced a nighttime curfew Wednesday following two nights of unrest over the latest police killing of a Black man whose family said suffered from mental health issues.
Thousands of people have taken to Philadelphia’s streets, with looting and violence breaking out, since police on Monday shot dead 27-year-old Walter Wallace, who was carrying a knife.
Wallace’s death and the subsequent demonstrations, in which riot police have used batons and shields to push back protesters throwing bricks and other debris, have reignited a political clash between Republicans and Democrats days before the election.
Philadelphia is the biggest city in the state of Pennsylvania, which is viewed as key to winning Tuesday’s presidential vote.
“It’s a terrible thing. What I am witnessing is terrible and frankly that the mayor or whoever it is that’s allowing people to riot and loot and not stop them is also just a horrible thing,” President Donald Trump told reporters.
The US has seen a wave of protests and rioting since the police killing of George Floyd in May in Minnesota, when an officer was filmed pressing his knee to handcuffed Floyd’s neck until he went limp.
Many of the protests have accused the police of racism and brutality, but Trump has focused on the unrest to bolster his claims to be the “law-and-order” candidate in his election battle against Joe Biden.
The Democratic challenger said it was “totally legitimate, totally reasonable” to protest peacefully.
“What I say is there’s no excuse whatsoever for the looting and the violence,” Biden told reporters after casting his ballot in his home state of Delaware.
Officials announced that the citywide curfew will last from 9:00 p.m. to 06:00 am (0100 to 1000 GMT Thursday).
Mayor Jim Kenney suggested other curfews may follow, telling reporters that decisions will be made daily on whether to implement one that night.
“I believe that as a certain percentage of people who abide by the curfew we’ll have less people on the street to deal with, which makes the job, and the safety of the officers better,” said Kenney, a Democrat.
More than 170 people have been arrested over the unrest, mostly for looting, according to police statistics.
Some 53 police officers have been injured, including one whose leg was broken when he was hit by a truck, while 17 police vehicles have been damaged.
Two officers shot Wallace around 4:00 p.m. (2000 GMT) on Monday afternoon after he refused to drop the knife as his mother tried to restrain him.
Phone video of the killing posted on social media showed Wallace push his mother away and then walk toward the police.
“Put the knife down,” one of the officers shouted in the video, which panned away as officers opened fire.
His family said he suffered from mental health problems and was on medication. Wallace’s father asked why officers did not taser him instead.
Police said they responded to a call about a domestic disturbance.
A lawyer for the family said Wallace was bipolar and the call to the emergency services was for an ambulance, not police.
Several hundred National Guard troops deployed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s office are expected to arrive in Philadelphia beginning Friday.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw has launched an investigation into the shooting. The officers involved have not been identified.