DRC unrest 'may delay' voter registration

2017-03-14 21:01
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Kinshasa - Rising unrest in central Democratic Republic of Congo threatens to derail voter registration ahead of a high-stakes election, the Catholic Church and the electoral commission said on Tuesday.

Commission president Corneille Nangaa meanwhile hit out at recent attacks in the central region of Kasai, where four offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) have been set on fire.

Kasai has seen a major spike in violence since September, leaving at least 400 dead in an uprising that erupted when government forces killed a tribal chief and militia leader, Kamwina Nsapu, who had rebelled against President Joseph Kabila.

The violence took a grim turn on Sunday, when two foreign experts from the United Nations and their Congolese staff went missing in the region.

No new information was available on Tuesday on the experts' fate. One of them was American and the other Swedish-Chilean.

The CENI "is a target, and this worries us", said its president, Corneille Nangaa.

In a report published on Tuesday in Kinshasa, the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace (CJP) said the unrest "threatens to delay voter registration".

The CJP called on Kinshasa to ensure "a calm atmosphere is maintained before, during and after the voter registration process".

Under a power-sharing deal reached on New Year's Eve, DRC is set to hold an election by the end of 2017.

But the UN has criticised a lack of progress towards implementing the deal, which also called for a transitional council to be established.

Read more on:    drc  |  central africa

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