HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH SAYS DRC POLLS DELAY MAY SPARK MORE VIOLENCE

| December 20, 2016

International non-governmental organization (NGO) Human Rights Watch has warned of a possible increase in violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in coming days if that central African nation's elections are postponed.

Security forces in the DRC patrolled the tense streets of Kinshasa on Sunday after the suspension of talks between rival political groups to find a peaceful way out of the nation's political crisis sparked by the end of President Joseph Kabila's mandate.

Negotiations to agree on a way forward for the country when Kabila's second term comes to an end were halted on Saturday with no significant progress made.

Fears of fresh political violence in the mineral-rich but unstable DRC were running high, with no elections planned and Kabila showing no inclination to step down.

The HRW director for Central Africa, Ida Sawyer, told the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) here Monday: There has been a mobilisation by armed groups, especially in the eastern parts of the country.

"Many armed groups have said President Kabila is no longer legitimate, the police and army will no longer be legitimate after today (Monday), so it's possible we will see armed conflict.

Kabila's second and, under the DRC Constitution, final term of office ended on Monday but he is not giving up power. An election which was to have been held last month were not organized, and he has reached a deal with an opposition group to allow him to remain in power "until elections can be held" and the next polls have been provisionally scheduled for April 2018.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Category: General

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