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US warns of imposing sanctions on DR Congo over crackdown against opposition

US warns of imposing sanctions on DR Congo over crackdown against opposition

Democratic Republic Of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is under scrutiny due to heightened political tensions in the country. The United States is the latest country to express growing concern over what it terms as diminishing political space in the DRC

In a statement issued by Mark Toner, Deputy spokesperson of the US department of state, the US is reviewing the possibility of imposing sanctions.

This it said is in response to the growing patterns of intimidation, harassment, and detention of members of the opposition and civil society leaders across the DRC .

Sanctions could include the freezing of assets and a travel ban. But the warning has so far failed to sway President Joseph Kabila and members of his government.

The US is calling for an end to the repression and added that the DRC government cannot call for dialogue while at the same time it continues to harass and jail those expected to participate.

Toner urged the government of DRC to protect all its citizens and allow them to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

A delegation of Kabila’s political opponents traveled to Washington earlier this week to urge the US to act quickly against him and his top aides.

On Friday, the UN also said it was worried over the arrest of Congolese political activists shortly after attending a meeting with other peaceful pro-democracy activists.

Kabila is constitutionally barred from standing for re- election but opponents accuse him of tying to delay the polls scheduled for November .

The country’s highest court recently ruled that Kabila would stay in power until elections could be held but a leading opposition parties said the ruling is part of a “constitutional coup d’état” and have called for nationwide marches on 26 May to demand that Kabila steps down this year.

*AGENCY*