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Eastern DRC: 7 people including a UN peacekeeper killed in a clash

Eastern DRC: 7 people including a UN peacekeeper killed in a clash

Democratic Republic Of Congo

There is tension in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, after 7 people including a UN peacekeeper, a Congolese police officer and five rebels were killed.

The deaths came after a clash erupted in Butembo, North Kivu province on Monday, according to a report confirmed by the spokesman for UN’s peacekeeping mission in the DRC, MONUSCO.

The attack that was carried out by Mayi–Mayi militia targeted a prison in the town. The rebels are a community-based militia group formed to defend their local territory against other armed groups.

The incident comes a few hours to the end of President Joseph Kabila’s second and final term in accordance with the constitution of DRC. The opposition however, suspects the outgoing president might refuse to leave office, and extend his reign in power, a move that could trigger violence the central African nation.

On Saturday evening, the Catholic bishops of the National Episcopal Conference of the Congo (CENCO) announced the suspension of their mediation in order to allow a calm exit of the political crisis that has dogged the country since the disputed re-election of Mr. Kabila in 2011.

45-year-old Kabila has been in power since 2001, and the Constitution prohibits him from running for office. His detractors accuse him of having done everything to torpedo the electoral process and to want to stay in power for life.

Negotiations under the aegis of the bishops are meant to allow for a period of political transition between the government and the opposition until the election of a new president. They have not advanced on any of the most important points of litigation, and are expected to resume on Wednesday.

Before the opening of the talks, the coalition known as the Rally formed around the historic opponent Étienne Tshisekedi had threatened to throw people into the streets on December 19 throughout the country to drive Kabila out of power if negotiations fail.

The Rassemblement did not, however, give any order to this effect after the suspension of the discussions.

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