US voices outrage as Gambia, DRC guards rough up protesters during Africa summit

Guards left the country and are unlikely to face charges at home

The United States has voiced outrage to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gambia after their leaders’ guards roughed up protesters during the Africa summit in the US. 

Jacques Miango, a US-based activist critical of DR Congo President Joseph Kabila, said in an online video that guards beat him and others and stole his laptop as they held a small protest near the leader’s hotel in Washington DC. 

In another incident, exiled Gambian journalist, Fatou Camara, and a protester needed hospital treatment after Jammeh’s guards forcibly dispersed the crowd as the president left the Hay-Adams Hotel near the White House. Camara described the incident on Twitter as “an attack on democracy and rule of law”, saying: “God save Gambia!”

“We take the right to freedom of expression very seriously and violence against peaceful protesters is totally unacceptable,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters.

The US asked the DR Congo and the delegation of Gambia to waive immunity for the guards in question so they could face prosecution in the US, but the guards left the country and are unlikely to face charges. 

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