A photo of a girl residing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has drawn concerns after she was reportedly arrested during a protest.
According to DRC news site Actualité, the protest happened Thursday afternoon (Nov. 16.) Jesius Yalala was amongst the crowd calling for the resignation of President of Congo DRC Joseph Kabila and the electoral calendar of the Independent National Electoral Commission. Kabila has reigned for 16 years and was expected to step down last December.
The New York Times adds Kabila’s leadership of the country is in shambles, from mismanagement of goods to the war between government troops and Kabila opponents.
The 15-year-old was reportedly handcuffed for calling for justice pertaining to her father, a militant from the group La LUCHA who was jailed by officers.
An image was snapped of the teen with a group of officers surrounding her. Her hands are placed behind her back.
“She was there in the crowd,” witness and activist Zaza said. “I saw her coming to the police. She was angry. She first asked for the release of those arrested, including her father.” Yalala was held for several hours with her father spending the night in jail. The teen reportedly told Zaza, “I am ready to fight for my country, why do not you accept me in the movement? I want to be with you.”
Despite witness statements, police spokesperson Colonel Pierrot Mwanamputu claims no minors were arrested.
“Our communication officer in South Kivu informs us that for the day yesterday, 12 activists of the movement S’EN EST TROP were arrested by the police and sent to the dungeon of the chieftaincy,” he said. “It is during the march organized by the movement to demand the holding in the short time of elections in the DRC. There were no minors arrested.”
When it came to photo, he claimed it was inaccurate. “You will ask the question to those who sent you this picture,” he said. “It’s up to them to answer this question.”
The photo has continued to gain traction online with the hashtags, #iamyalala and #jesuisyalala.