UN urges all sides to reject violence ahead of DR Congo presidential vote
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The UN Security Council Tuesday urged all parties to reject violence five days before the presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A number of people have been killed in the run-up to the December 23 presidential election since the beginning of campaigning on November 22.
A civil rights group, the Congolese Association for Access to Justice (ACAJ), said in a statement on Tuesday that ten people have died. Human Rights Watch said that at least seven opposition supporters had been killed by security forces.
The Security Council asked all sides "to continue to reject violence of any kind, exercise maximum restraint in their actions and ... refrain from provocations such as violence and violent speeches and to address their differences peacefully", a UN statement said.
The members also underscored the importance of ensuring the safety and security of candidates and voters during the campaign period.
Meanwhile, they reiterated their call on all parties to engage peacefully and constructively in the electoral process, to ensure transparent, peaceful and credible elections.
"While welcoming the progress in the technical preparation of the polls, the members of the Security Council are worried about" incidents of violence marring the final days the electoral campaign, the statement added.
As such, the council "calls on the DRC government to quickly investigate these events", it said.
Ethnic violence in western DR Congo
Western governments are closely watching the election violence and vote outcome in the vast African state, which has never known a peaceful transfer of power since independence from colonial Belgium in 1960.
The focus on the election comes as authorities reported at least 45 deaths since Sunday in ethnic violence in western DR Congo, sparking a massive exodus of refugees to neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville.
"The violence started on the night of 15-16 December ... the provisional toll is 45 dead and more than 60 injured," Gentiny Ngobila, the governor of Mai-Ndombe province told AFP.
"The violence is not linked to the electoral campaign under way in the country. It is a conflict between two communities," he said.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)