Mob attacks Indian businesses in Congo amid furore over student's death

A photograph of a Congolese man who died in police custody is seen on a footpath outside a police station in Bangalore, India, on Aug 2, 2021.
A photograph of a Congolese man who died in police custody is seen on a footpath outside a police station in Bangalore, India, on Aug 2, 2021.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KINSHASA (REUTERS) - A mob attacked Indian businesses and vehicles in Democratic Republic of Congo's capital on Thursday (Aug 12), the police said, part of ongoing fallout from a Congolese student's death in Indian police custody last week.

Several Indian businesses in Kinshasa were looted last week following the death of Joel Malu, a Congolese student in Bangalore.

African diplomats have complained in the past about racism against their citizens living in India, especially in the aftermath of the beating death in 2016 of a Congolese man in Dehli.

Congo's police said the mob on Thursday looted Indian shops and warehouses, set a car on fire and stoned three other vehicles in Kinshasa's Limete neighbourhood in response to a false rumour that a second Congolese national had died in India.

"Uncivilized people, mainly young people, have been looting stores and warehouses held by Indian nationals," said Kinshasa police commissioner Sylvano Kasongo.

Police arrested three people and recovered 40 bales of stolen clothing, Kasongo said. The statement did not mention any injuries.

Malu was arrested in Bangalore on Aug 1 on suspicion of drug possession. Indian police said he complained of chest pains and was transferred to hospital, where he died.

His death sparked clashes between protesters and baton-wielding officers in Bangalore the following day.