US Troops Deployed to Central Africa Over Concerns of Violence in Congo

Angelica Greene
January 5, 2019

The commission says it will publish complete provisional results on Sunday at the earliest.

US President Donald Trump told Congress on Friday the first of about 80 troops arrived in Gabon on Wednesday to protect US citizens and diplomatic facilities should violence break out in DRC's capital Kinshasa.

"These deployed personnel will remain in the region until the security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo becomes such that their presence is no longer needed".

The elections will determine who succeeds President Joseph Kabila, who has been at the helm of sub-Saharan Africa's biggest country for almost 18 years.

Elections to succeed him were delayed several times before they finally took place, and were further postponed in several areas hit by violence.Tension has risen further over the marathon counting process with opposition fears running high that the result will be rigged to favor Mr Kabila's preferred successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

Congo government spokesman Lambert Mende defended its handling of the election, saying public safety concerns justified a decision to cancel voting in the Ebola-hit cities of Beni and Butembo, and cutting internet access until the results were known was meant to stop the spread of false news about the outcome.

"The EU joins calls from the African Union election monitoring mission and the AU commission chairman, among others, to ensure the upcoming results conform with the Congolese people's vote", the statement said.

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Nangaa said CENCO's declaration violated electoral law and a code of conduct signed by poll monitors that gives the electoral commission, CENI, alone the authority to announce results.

Meanwhile, the United States on Thursday demanded that the Democratic Republic of Congo release "accurate" election results, warning of sanctions on anyone who undermines the fledgling democracy.

Pre-election opinion polls showed Shadary trailing Fayulu and Tshisekedi, who have been buoyed by rising dissatisfaction with Kabila's tenure.

The CENCO mission and another domestic observer group, SYMOCEL, both said in reports on Thursday they witnessed widespread irregularities on election day, though they did not allege outright fraud. It also said that 27 per cent of polling stations opened late and that 18 per cent had problems with malfunctioning electronic voting machines.

Ambassador Francois Delattre spoke Friday at United Nations headquarters after the closed-door council meeting that France called. The council is scheduled to hold a public meeting next Tuesday.

Friday's meeting underscored that the council is keeping close watch on the electoral process, French Ambassador François Delattre said.

Other reports by GizPress

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