On the 17th of May 2017 over 4,000 inmates broke out of Makala prison in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), while 70 convicts fled from another prison in south-western DRC a few days later. In the preceding months, the European Union and the United States imposed targeted sanctions, both asset freezes and travel restrictions, on senior Congolese security and intelligence officials, after government violence against civilian protests. An additional nine Congolese officials were then sanctioned on the 29th May 2017 for obstructing the elections and for human rights violations.
With prison breaks, government violence, kidnappings, mass atrocities, human rights violations, a powder keg of disgruntled citizens and suspicions that the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) may have been involved in the killing of two United Nations (UN) investigators just a month ago, it is not surprising that current and prospective investors are fearful of how the situation in the country could develop. Instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo has become the norm rather than the exception. Recent insecurity has centred on delayed elections – which were due to take place in November 2016 – following President Joseph Kabila’s unwillingness to step down after reaching the constitutional limit.