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Christian sect attacks Congo prison, frees leader, 50 more

19 May 2017, 06:57 | Todd Saunders

Christian sect attacks Congo prison, frees leader, 50 more

Christian sect attacks Congo prison, frees leader, 50 more

The authorities are accused of involvement in the attack supporters Ncemi.

Congolese Justice Minister Alexis Tambwe Mwamba visited Kinshasa's Makala prison on Thursday (May 18) as authorities said they had recaptured 179 fugitives after a mass escape from the capital's main prison.

Mobutu was ousted by rebel chief Laurent-Desire Kabila, father of the embattled current president Joseph Kabila.

A lawmaker, Nsemi is the spiritual leader of the BDK which has called for an insurrection against Kinshasa.

Nsemi has a strong following in southwestern Congo and wants to revive the Kongo kingdom, which flourished for centuries around the mouth of the Congo River.

Nsemi was arrested in early March following a violent two-week siege of his home.

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According to a local resident, the attack began just before dawn when there were "prolonged exchanges of fire".

"Several risky prisoners and perpetrators of vicious crimes have escaped".

Inmates who were interviewed after the incident recalled seeing some prisoners in blue shirts running in the streets away from the facility. "All the inmates have escaped", he said, without stating how many women had been detained there.

The Belgian colonial-era Makala prison has capacity for 3,000 detainees.

He added that some escapees have been arrested and returned to the prison, without giving further details. However, AFP could not independently verify the claim. Movement "Bunda Dia Kongo" campaigning for the restoration of the monarchy in what is now DR Congo, Republic of the Congo, Angola and Gabon.

Under the constitution, Kabila should have ended his mandate on December 20 but he managed to secure a controversial court ruling allowing him to remain in office until elections are held "at the end of 2017". The opposition questions whether Kabila will yield power.

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