The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC, Felix Tshisekedi, has a new drug known as “bombe” in his sights. The substance, which has the capital worried, is made partly with residues from car exhaust pipes.

TSHISEKEDI SETS SIGHT ON BOMBE

Near the end of August 2021, Tshisekedi demanded action against alleged drug dealers and Congolese officers paraded nearly 100 people accused of dealing drugs at the police’s headquarters in Kinshasha, according to AFP.

Bombe, alongside cocaine, heroin, cannabis and other drug paraphernalia, was shown off by the police at this parade. The bombe – it is a powdered substance – was displayed in small bags next to a plastic barrel that contained blackened pieces of catalytic converters.

According to AFP, the head of the Congolese crime squad told the media that dust extracted from the exhaust parts are mixed with “pharmaceutical products” in order to create the substance.

A recent Reuters report explained that the brown powder is made by crushing the ceramic honeycomb centre of a catalytic converter and bombe users typically mix the exhaust dust with vitamin pills and sleeping tablets, sedatives or tobacco. However, not much is known about how it works or its effect on health.

Drug users described the experience as “calming” to Reuters and said Bombe’s effects can last for several hours – or even days at a time. “We used to drink very strong whiskey… we were restless and we would hurt people,” said a 26-year-old alleged gang leader “But with bombe, it calms you down, you get tired, you stay somewhere standing up or sitting down for a very long time. When you’re done, you go home without bothering anyone.”

Since the drug gained popularity in the DRC, incidents of catalytic converter theft have increased. The car part is usually stolen in different parts of the world, including South Africa because it contains valuable precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium.

President Tshisekedi said the “social phenomenon”  called for collective responsibility from the entire nation.

Additional reporting AFP

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