U.S. deploys 80 troops over possible violence in DRC

U.S. deploys 80 troops over possible violence in DRC

U.S. deploys 80 troops over possible violence in DRC

The Catholic church in Congo announced Thursday its data show a clear victor in Sunday's presidential election, and it called on the electoral commission to publish the true results in "respect of truth and justice".

Citing the possibility of violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, US president Donald Trump has deployed 80 troops with "appropriate equipment" and aircraft to the nearby Gabon, he informed Congress in a letter.

In a letter to congressional leaders, Trump said the first of about 80 military personnel arrived in Gabon on Wednesday in case they are needed to protect United States citizens and diplomatic facilities in Congo's capital Kinshasa.

In a letter to Congress, Trump said the troops were sent in response to "the possibility that violent demonstrations may occur" in DR Congo in reaction to the December 30 elections.

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"Every time that presidential election results are published, regardless of which side who wins, there is always one side which is dissatisfied and wants to exploit the students", Mbikayi told AFP in Kinshasa.

"The United States stands by the millions of Congolese voters who went to the poll across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on December 30 to participate in presidential, legislative, and provincial assembly election".

The government has also cut Internet access until the poll results are announced, saying this is a necessary measure to prevent the spread of fake news.

The various moves reflected high tensions in Congo, where the long-delayed election was meant to choose a successor to Kabila, who is due to step down next month after 18 years in power - and two years after the official end of his mandate.

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The meeting came even as the UN Human Rights office (OHCHR) termed the post-election environment in the DRC as "calm but tense" as the country waits for the results of the presidential poll.

Pre-election polling showed ex-interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, Kabila's preferred candidate, trailing the main opposition candidates, Martin Fayulu and Felix Tshisekedi. The State Department noted the reported troubles on election day and said results should be compiled transparently, with observers present, so that the votes of millions of people "were not cast in vain".

In response, the electoral commission accused the Church on Friday of "preparing an insurrection" by declaring that it knew the victor of the election.

A man examines voting materials at Congo's Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) tallying centre in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jan 1, 2019.

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Both the opposition and Kabila's hand-picked candidate claim they have won, without posting specific figures.

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