x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Five dead in clashes as DR Congo go ahead with elections

Armed men attacked voting centres and a lorry carrying ballots, leaving at least five people dead as the Democratic Republic of Congo went ahead with an election that could drag the country back into conflict.

KINSHASA // Armed men attacked voting centres and a lorry carrying ballots, leaving at least five people dead as the Democratic Republic of Congo went ahead with an election that could drag the country back into conflict.

Country experts and opposition leaders had urged the government to delay the vote because of massive logistical problems, arguing that a delayed election was better than a botched one. Voting materials arrived late - or not at all.

Today's vote came after a weekend of violence that left at least four dead. Earlier today, gunmen opened fire on a lorry transporting ballots and an attack on a voting centre in Lubumbashi, in clashes that killed five more, according to Dikanga Kazadi, the provincial minister of the interior.

Eleven candidates are vying for president in the election, only the second since the end of Congo's last war and the first to be organised by the government instead of the international community. The incumbent president, Joseph Kabila, was widely expected to win another term because of the splintered opposition.

The early light voter turnout was a contrast with 2006, when people trudged in the dark to line up outside polling stations before dawn. Long queues built up even before balloting stations opened. About 70 per cent of registered voters participated in that UN-orgainsed election.