EU slams 'unjustified' DR Congo decision to expel envoy

EU slams 'unjustified' DR Congo decision to expel envoy

EU slams 'unjustified' DR Congo decision to expel envoy

Voters in three Congolese cities known as anti-government strongholds will be excluded from Sunday's presidential elections on security and health grounds, officials said, prompting calls for protests from angry opposition leaders.

Patients being monitored as possible Ebola patients fled a camp in eastern DR Congo on Thursday after it was attacked by demonstrators protesting further delays to the country's election, the health ministry said.

Anti-Kabila parties are divided - Felix Tshisekedi of the long-running UDPS refused to rally behind Martin Fayuli as the opposition's single candidate.

The former interior minister is under an European Union asset freeze and travel ban for obstructing Congo's electoral process and for a crackdown against protesters angry over the delayed vote.

The election commission "has crossed a red line", said Lamuka, which is backed by two of the DRC's powerbrokers - former warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba and the ex-governor of Katanga, Moise Katumbi.

The protesters also demanded that the electoral commission's president resign.

Electoral commission CENI said an Ebola outbreak was behind the cancellation of the ballot in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo cities of Beni and Butembo.

The opposition coalition called for a nationwide "ghost town" strike on Friday but urged supporters to remain calm.

The presidential election - the Democratic Republic of Congo's first in seven years - coincides with voting for municipal and legislative bodies.

Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary. Pic credit BBC
Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary. Pic credit BBC

The EU prolonged the sanctions earlier this month after Congo's foreign minister pleaded with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to lift the sanctions, even for a "probationary period".

Progress in fighting Democratic Republic of the Congo's Ebola outbreak, the second worst ever, will be reversed if fighting continues around the disease hot spots of Beni and Butembo, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday.

The DRC elections are to choose a successor to President Joseph Kabila, in charge of the volatile mineral-rich country for almost 18 years. The rest of the country still votes on Sunday, with "definitive" results announced on January 15 and the inauguration three days later.

"The date has now been fixed, the 30th of December", President Kabila told Al Jazeera on Thursday, in an interview at the presidential palace in Kinshasa.

The election postponement applies to the cities of Beni and Butembo in North Kivu, as well as to the territory of Yumbi in the southwestern province of Mai-Ndombe.

In his comments on Thursday evening, Mr Kabila claimed that Ebola could spread as people taking part in the elections had to use voting machines, which required tapping on a touchscreen to select candidates.

The incident followed the announcement that elections planned for Sunday in the region had once again been postponed because of local unrest, as well as the Ebola outbreak.

About a dozen people have died in DRC campaign violence according to various sources, which Kabila's government has denied.

The vote crowns two years of turmoil, sharpening worries that the fragile giant of central Africa may once more spiral into violence.

UVA shuts out SC to win Belk Bowl
South Carolina's highly-touted offense finally came alive late in the third quarter with a 23-yard and 37-yard pass from Bentley. It was Virginia's first bowl win since 2005 and first win over an SEC opponent since it downed SC in Charlottesville in 2002.

Trump threatens to shut border if no wall money
AMLO took an even-minded approach to Trump's comments, saying, "We are always seeking a good relationship with the United States". Last week Trump said his administration was prepared for a lengthy shutdown. "We're going to behave like adults and do our job".

Ball boy interrupts play as Crystal Palace edge Man City 3-2
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has conceded his team selection was wrong for defeat to Crystal Palace . He said: "The third goal, the penalty, was really tough for us".

Related news