At least two people were killed when armed men in uniform torched the headquarters of the main opposition party overnight in Democratic Republic of Congo, witnesses said, beginning a second day of violent protests. Nathan Frandino reports.
Death toll rises amid Congo election dispute
This is what opposition politicians found when they came to work on Tuesday morning… their offices torched.
It was the latest violent incident in the deadly unrest now gripping Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Members of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress found two charred bodies inside their office and empty gas cans outside.
(SOUNDBITE) (French) UDPS MEMBER AND HEADQUARTERS BURNING SURVIVOR, CARLIN LUMBALA, SAYING:
“It happened from 2:00 to 4:30 A.M. with bullets, tear gas, and gasoline. They burnt down almost everything.”
Witnesses say armed men in uniform were behind the attack. The government denies involvement.
Violence in the country has increased amid fears that President Joseph Kabila is trying to hold onto power.
His term expires in December and, under the constitution, he can’t run again… but the election commission has petitioned to postpone the next election, a move many believe is designed to keep Kabila in office.
The government says protests on Monday left at least 17 people dead. Though the opposition says that number is much higher.
And the UN’s Rupert Colville is urging a peaceful resolution.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) SPOKESMAN FOR THE U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, RUPERT COLVILLE, SAYING:
“We call on all sides to show restraint and we urge the authorities to ensure that existing national and international standards on the appropriate use of force are fully respected by all security personnel.”
The UN is also calling for an investigation into the violence, although the restoration of peace is likely to depend on President Kabila’s next move.