30 December 2013

Congo-Kinshasa: Gunmen Seize DRC TV Station, Attack Airport

Photo: Jessica Hatcher/IRIN
Government forces beat back armed gunmen who had taken over the international airport, state television and army headquarters in Kinshasa (file photo).

Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo say gunmen have taken several reporters hostage at the state television station in the capital. Attackers also attacked the airport of the capital, Kinshasa.

Police put a security cordon around the state television building where the unidentified attackers had taken several people hostage, journalists told Reuters.

Before transmission was shut down, two gunmen appeared on camera to deliver what appeared to be a political message against President Joseph Kabila's government.

"Gideon Mukungubila has come to free you from the slavery of the Rwandan," said the message, according to a Reuters reporter who saw a tape of the transmission.

In central Kinshasa, the streets emptied and shopkeepers closed their shutters. A customs official at the international airport on the outskirts of Kinshasa reported heavy gunfire there just minutes after the attack on state television.

"Shooting has started here," the official told Reuters. "They are shooting everywhere. We are all hiding."

Heavy gunfire was heard during the attack at the international airport. There are no immediate reports of casualties.

Some information in this report was contributed by Reuters.

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