Government security forces fired live rounds and tear gas at demonstrators in and around Beni and other eastern cities where election polls have been delayed. Security forces have killed dozens of people in protests.
Election delays have led to deadly protests in the past. The latest delay pushed back the vote from December 23rd to Sunday. The election was initially meant to take place in 2016 but has been repeatedly delayed to replace Kabila, who has governed since replacing his assassinated father in 2001.
The government is being accused of trying to ensure the preferred candidate of President Joseph Kabila is elected. Many Congolese believe Kabila will continue to wield power behind the scenes.
Areas around Beni and Butembo have been dealing with an Ebola outbreak. But health authorities have said that it should not prevent the elections from going forward. The government is being accused of using the outbreak to disenfranchise people.
Voting was also cancelled in western Yumbi where ethnic violence erupted between Batende and Banunu groups that killed more than 100 people. Both groups are backing opposing candidates, raising tensions between them.
Photo: “Kashuga, North-Kivu, Dr Congo: Troops of MONUSCO Indian Battalion embark on Area Domination Patrol to Kashuga in North Kivu to enhance their presence and also reassure locals of their security.” by MONUSCO Photos is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0