Congolese woman sets herself on fire to protest against racism

By Africa News
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By Africa News

11/28/2007 11:46:41 PM -

A Belgian woman of Congolese origin recently set herself alight in the centre of Luxembourg City, Belgium to protest against racism. Maggy Delvaux-Mufu set herself alight in the middle of Place d'Armes telling witnesses that she was doing it to protest against racism, moments before she carried out the desperate act which has left her in hospital fighting for her life, Association de la presse panafricaine(APPA) reported.

Delvaux-Mufu, a mother of three in her forties, had previously alerted several national newspapers that she would be burning herself alive on place des Martyrs. She had even communicated
the exact time. She then set out accompanied by her husband to walk through the centre of town to her macabre rendezvous.

The police were alerted and officers were deployed to the Rousegärtchen. The woman, however, changed her plan when she came across a group of journalists gathered to cover an event organised by the 'Mouvement écologique' on Place d'Armes, opposite the Cercle municipal. She soaked herself in petrol before confronting the members of the press, announcing that she was about to sacrifice her life to protest against racism. Moments later, she struck a match, turning herself into a human torch in front of hundreds of people.

Delvaux-Mufu's husband and passers-by jumped on the burning body, attempting to stifle the flames with coats and jackets. The scene made several people feel unwell and many witnesses who filled the square at lunchtime were traumatised by the woman's shrieking screams of unimaginable pain. The flames were already extinguished when police, rescue services and the fire brigade arrived at the scene. One person is reported to have vomited after seeing the woman being transported into an ambulance.

The events in Place d'Armes have also started a controversy regarding the authorities' lack of psychological support for witnesses. Delvaux-Mufu was taken to the Bon Secours hospital in Metz, where by the time we went to press she was being treated in a specialised ward for burns and was fighting for her life. Grand Duchess Maria Teresa visited the woman and her family at the hospital.

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