Prison officials and Non governmental organisations have revealed that no fewer than hundreds of detainees die each year in severely overcrowded and unsanitary prisons in the Democratic Republic of Congo largely due to a lack of food and medicine.
According to the Prison’s Director, Camille Nzonzi, two inmates died this week bringing the total number of casualties there to 17 since April at a prison in Bunia, the capital of northeastern Ituri province.
Though, the United Nations had said the Bunia prison was designed to hold 220 people, Nzonzi noted that, “we have 1,364 inmates, that’s too many. The biggest problem is the food shortage.’
“We live poorly, we sleep badly, we don’t take care of our health and we don’t eat, two spoonfuls of porridge per person. Today, we are lucky, we had rice,” said one detainee, Justin Titike.
At least 223 prisoners died in Congolese detention facilities in 2018, while 201 died in 2017, according to the United Nations.
“Congolese prisons are among the most overcrowded in the world,” with an average overcapacity rate of 432 percent, Human Rights Watch noted.
The NGO sounded a new alarm in April, at the start of the outbreak of the new coronavirus, which affected about 100 inmates at the Ndolo military prison in the country’s capital Kinshasa.
Photo Source: Al Jazeera