18 killed in DRC poll violence
Kinshasa - Election-related violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo killed at least 18 civilians between November 26 and 28, Human Rights Watch said on Friday, urging an end to killings by security forces.
"The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo should immediately rein in its security forces, especially the Republican Guard, and prevent the targeting of political opponents and their supporters in the aftermath of the November 28, 2011 presidential and legislative elections," the group said in a statement.
The New York-based rights watchdog said the majority of those killed were shot dead by Republican Guard soldiers in the capital Kinshasa.
Other civilians were killed and wounded during clashes between rival political parties, attacks by armed groups and mob violence, it added.
At least 100 civilians had been seriously wounded in election-related violence, it said.
Human Rights Watch warned further unrest could erupt when the provisional results of the presidential election - which pits incumbent Joseph Kabila against a field of 10 opposition candidates - are announced on December 6.
"Tensions are running high given the logistical complications of organising the election," Anneke Van Woudenberg, Human Rights Watch senior Africa researcher, said in the statement.
"Security forces should be protecting people, not fuelling the violence."
Monday's polls were rocked by apparent separatist attacks in the restive south-eastern city of Lubumbashi that officials had said left 10 to 11 people dead, including two police.
The campaign also saw deadly clashes between police and opposition supporters, and repeated street fighting between Kabila's partisans and those of his chief rival, veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi.