Police in Brazil Arrest 3 over Brutal Murder of Congolese Refugee

Brazil’s police have arrested three people following the death of a Congolese refugee beaten to death at a beachside kiosk in Rio de Janeiro; the incident set off outraged calls for justice and planned protests across the country.

The images released by police on Tuesday show that Moise Kabagambe, 24, was beaten to the ground by three men last week. Kabagambe had been bound.

According to witness accounts, Kabagambe was murdered after demanding his back pay for serving drinks at the kiosk for two days.

A fourth suspect is being sought after police arrested three suspects on Tuesday.

Henrique Damasceno, the police chief, said the kiosk owner’s video helped identify the attackers and that he did not participate in the beating.

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According to his family, Kabagambe arrived in Brazil as a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo ten years ago to study architecture, which prompted protests to demand justice on his behalf.

“We want justice,” Kabagambe’s mother Ivana told reporters. “He grew up here in Brazil. I can’t believe this happened.”

On Saturday, the Congolese and Black communities called for a protest at the Barra de Tijuca beach kiosk in south Rio, along with a similar protest in Sao Paulo.

Kabagambe’s violent murder on Jan. 24 ‘deserves the utmost condemnation from Brazilian society,’ according to Human Rights Watch, as it happens in the context of increased violence against Black people in that country.

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It is the fifth murder of a Congolese immigrant in Brazil in 2019 and the embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo has called for a thorough investigation.

Brazil’s foreign ministry joined the outpouring of sympathy. The ministry, known as Itamaraty, said in a note, “Itamaraty expresses its indignation over the brutal murder and hopes those responsible are brought to justice as soon as possible.”

According to the Justice Ministry, which oversees immigration, Brazil has received 900 Congolese refugees since 2016. Most of them reside in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.


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