Congolese police officers standing guard in the Central Prison in Bukavu following a jail break, January 1, 2012.AFP PHOTO/STRINGER
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Democratic Republic of Congo will release about 2,000 prisoners this month in a bid to reduce overcrowding in jails and calm political tensions at the start of an election year, the justice minister said Tuesday.Congo's prisons are notoriously overpopulated and hold around 20,000 people, according to the United Nations.Justice Minister Alexis Thambwe said about 1,200 low-level offenders who have served at least one-quarter of their sentences and received approval from the prison director and prosecutor-general would be freed in the coming weeks.Kabila, who became president in 2001 and won disputed elections in 2006 and 2011, has refused to outline his political future.
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