Published: Sat, January 05, 2019
Technology | By Lionel Gonzales

Blocking internet in Congo may lead to violence, United Nations warns

Blocking internet in Congo may lead to violence, United Nations warns

President Donald Trump said on Friday about 80 USA military personnel had deployed to Gabon in case they were needed to protect American citizens and diplomatic facilities in Congo.

"These deployed personnel will remain in the region until the security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo becomes such that their presence is no longer needed".

CENCO says it deployed more than 40,000 observers to monitor Sunday's vote, the first presidential ballot since 2011. We are doing our best to publish the results on January 6.

Elections held last Sunday will determine who succeeds President Joseph Kabila, at the helm of sub-Saharan Africa's biggest country for almost 18 years.

The statement in part hailed the Congolese people who braved all odds to kick start a process of actualizing the first peaceful transfer of political power in sub-Saharan Africa's largest nation.

The Catholic church in Congo announced Thursday its data show a clear victor in Sunday's presidential election, and it called on the electoral commission to publish the true results in "respect of truth and justice". It was called Zaire under Mobutu Sese Seko, the US-backed strongman who ruled between 1960 and 1997, when he was ousted by rebels led by the current president's father Laurent Desire-Kabila.

Donatien Nshole, the secretary-general of the Church's bishops' conference, known as CENCO, said on Thursday its vote tallies showed a clear victor in the December 30 election, a pronouncement widely seen as a warning to authorities against rigging the vote.

The African Union, which deployed an 80-member team to monitor the vote, also said that respect for voters' wishes was "crucial".

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President Joseph Kabila, 47, should have stepped down at the end of 2016 when his constitutionally-limited two terms expired.

Pre-election polling placed Kabila's preferred candidate, ex-Minister of the Interior Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, significantly behind main opposition candidates, Martin Fayulu and Felix Tshisekedi.

Worldwide pressure is growing on Congo to restore internet service - blocked in an apparent attempt to calm election speculation - and release accurate election results, with the United States warning that those who undermine the democratic process could face USA sanctions.

The UN Security Council will hold a closed-door meeting today, requested by France, about the elections.

On Thursday, the United States called on CENI to publish accurate results and threatened sanctions against anyone who sought to undermine the process.

The opposition has since said that the vote was marred by widespread irregularities.

DR Congo was on edge Saturday, just 24 hours ahead of a deadline for announcing preliminary results from last week's crucial presidential election as world powers heaped pressure on Kinshasa to respect voters' wishes.

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