Two killed as rival groups clash at Idd fete in DR Congo

Martyrs Stadium

Martyrs Stadium  in Kinsasha, DR Congo where two rival Muslims groups clashed during Idd celebrations on  May 13, 2020.

Photo credit: File

Two people, including a police officer, were killed and several others injured when a gathering of Muslims attending Idd prayers turned ugly in Kinshasa.

Rival groups, fighting for a local religious seat, had gathered at the Martyrs Stadium for prayers on Thursday before violence erupted. 

One vehicle was burnt while others were damaged. Property of unknown value was also destroyed.

Everything was going well the day before Idd-ul-Fitr, the celebrations that often mark the end of the Holy Month of Ramadhan for Muslims.

In Kinshasa, the celebrations brought together two rival groups fighting for recognition in the Islamic Community of Congo (Comico), a tiff that began last year in June.

The fighting ruined the party for Muslims who are already restricted by Covid-19 pandemic and other economic woes.

After a meeting with Kinshasa Governor Gentiny Ngobila, the rival groups led by Sheik Abdala on one side and Sheik Djibondo on the other, later claimed their differences are now settled.

Sheik Abdallah Mangala and Sheik Djibondo have been fighting for the post of legal representative of the Islamic Community of Congo. This tension degenerated and police officers were dispatched to disperse the Muslims who came to the celebration of the end of Ramadhan.

The conflict between the two branches of the Islamic community dates from the election of Cheik Djibondo as legal representative of Comico in June 2020. Controversy followed his victory, with a petition ending up in courts as well as Council of State of July 2020, recognising the authority of Sheik Abdallah Mangala as the head of organ for Muslims in DRC.  

Despite the call for truce, it appears now that the fractured Muslim Lobby could just explode again in future.