Inside DRC

50 killed in anti-government protests in Kinshasa

The bodies of people killed during election protests lie in the street, as Congolese troops stand near by in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. Witnesses say at least four people are dead after opposition protests against a delayed presidential election turned violent in Congo's capital. The protests were organized by activists who are opposed to longtime President Joseph Kabila, who is now expected to stay in office after his mandate ends in December. (AP Photo/John Bompengo)

The bodies of people killed during election protests lie in the street, as Congolese troops stand near by in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. 

This is the recommendation of rights groups as the government maintains a crackdown on activists and opposition party leaders and members who have opposed extending Joseph Kabila’s presidency beyond the constitutionally mandated two-term limit, which ends on December 19. But the electoral commission now says the polls should be delayed until next year to give it more time to compile a new voter list.

The headquarters of one the Democratic Republic of Congo’s main opposition parties was torched on September 20.

Gunshots could be heard Tuesday in Kinshasa as tensions rose. According to Reuters, at least two people died in the blaze.

“Most were killed when security forces fired on crowds of protesters”.

Opposition party headquarters were torched overnight Monday in retaliation over the protests, a government spokesman said.

Protesters killed at least six police officers and a supporter of Kabila’s party, she said, adding that demonstrators also burned and looted several shops and police stations.

The United States said it is disappointed that Congo did not announce an election calendar Monday, and said it is deeply alarmed by the reports of violence.

The United States believes that any individuals who are responsible for perpetrating violence or repression should be held accountable, and remains ready to impose additional targeted sanctions.

The interior minister said 17 people were killed – three policemen and 14 civilians.

At least four people were burnt to death yesterday when the headquarters of three opposition parties in the capital Kinshasa were set ablaze. The heavy clashes erupted in the capital ahead of a planned mass opposition rally.

“We will seek worldwide justice”, he said.

Mende called on Congolese to regain their composure and let justice do its work.

European nations will discuss the possibility of imposing sanctions on the Democratic Republic of Congo, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Monday in NY where he is attending the United Nations General Assembly.

Millions of people died in regional wars in Congo between 1996 and 2003 that drew in armies from half a dozen countries.

Report says that though a new election date had not been fixed, the opposition is concerned that the 45-year-old ruler is trying to extend his rule.

Earlier on Monday, youths shouting “Kabila get out” threw stones at police on a main avenue in the heart of the city of about 10-million people.

France urged DRC authorities to ensure that the delay in holding the next presidential election was “as short as possible”, and called on the government to respect “public liberties, especially the right to demonstrate peacefully”.

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