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17 prisoners starve to death in Kinshasa

Prisoners' families and NGOs said that the government was not supplying food or medicine to the jail and around 100 more inmates were gravely ill.

Picture: Pixabay.com

PRETORIA - At least 17 prisoners have starved to death this month in the largest jail in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital, Kinshasa.

Prisoners' families and NGOs said that the government was not supplying food or medicine to the jail and around 100 more inmates were gravely ill.

More than 8,000 inmates were crammed into Makala prison in Kinshasa, which was built in colonial times to accommodate 1,500.

Only six percent were serving sentences. The rest were awaiting trial.

Congo’s Justice Minister Celestin Tunda Ya Kasende said there were problems with a food supplier that had not been paid but these had been resolved.

Families who’ve had to provide food for the prisoners since supplies were cut two months ago said that at least 100 inmates are gravely ill and near death.