U.S. deploys troops to Gabon amid fears of unrest in DRC

CHARLES ONYANGO-OBBO

DRC poll makes Uganda last Mobutuist state in EA Wednesday January 2 2019 CHARLES ONYANGO-OBBO

Election monitors from the Southern (NYSE:) African Development Community (SADC) said on Wednesday that Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential election "went relatively well" despite chaotic scenes that prevented many from voting.

In a letter to congressional leaders, Trump said the troops had been deployed to the capital Libreville in order to "support the security" of US citizens, personnel and diplomatic facilities in Kinshasa, DRC.

"Additional forces may deploy to Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, or the Republic of Congo, if necessary for these purposes". The elections were scheduled for 2016 but postponed for two years following violence in the capital of Kinshasa and confusion about the size of the voting population.

Some Congolese have expressed doubt that the first election results will be released on Sunday as expected, as observers have said the internet and text messaging outage has slowed the transmission of election information.

The election could mark the first peaceful transition of power in the war-torn DRC, sub-Saharan Africa's largest country geographically, since independence in 1960.

Congo's election commission is scolding the Catholic church for saying its data show a clear victor in Sunday's presidential election, asserting that the announcement could incite an "uprising".

The cities' residents can vote in March, months after Congo's new president is set to be inaugurated on January 18.

The United States demanded that "accurate" election results be released and called on the DRC authorities to remove restrictions on internet access.

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But on Thursday, election chief Corneille Nangaa told AFP that CENI had only collected about a fifth of the results, blaming massive logistical problems in a country the size of Western Europe with very poor infrastructure.

"The NGO can say what they say", but South Africa "will wait... for those responsible for the elections to announce" the result, he said.

The UN Security Council was to meet behind closed doors on Friday to discuss the DRC, diplomats in NY said.

Democratic Republic of Congo's government on Thursday (Jan 3) defended the credibility of last weekend's disorganised presidential election and its decision to cut Internet access to 80 million citizens in the aftermath.

A spokesman for Felix Tshisekedi, one of two opposition candidates, said the hold-up was a further sign of fraud.

The CENCO mission "observes that the figures in its possession from polling stations' vote tallies reveal the choice of one candidate as president of the republic", its secretary-general Donatien Nshole told reporters.

Contested election results in 2006 and 2011 led to violent street protests, and a disputed outcome this time could also destabilize Congo's volatile eastern borderlands with Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, where dozens of militia groups are active.

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