The European Union has said it is ready to pile more pressure on the Democratic Republic of Congo, including imposing sanctions, to end the unrest in the central African nation and to push for elections to be held next year.
The 28 EU foreign ministers on Monday said in a statement that the bloc “will use all the means at its disposal, including individual restrictive measures” against those that commit violence and human rights abuses.
Dozens were killed in the capital Kinshasa in September after security forces clashed with anti-government protesters that were opposed to the delaying the elections.
Opposition leaders in the country have accused President Joseph Kabila of plotting to delay the elections so that he can stay longer in power.
Congo’s electoral commission says a national election, originally scheduled for next month, will likely take place at the end of 2018 but the EU ministers said the polls must happen “as soon as possible in 2017.”