The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today called on all parties in the upcoming elections to avoid actions that could jeopardize the smooth running of the polls following a recent wave of violence.
The UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) urged all parties to “resolutely engage in a constructive and peaceful dialogue,” and called on the authorities to take all steps necessary to guarantee freedom of expression and ensure the protection of the people and their properties.
According to media reports, armed men – including supporters of President Joseph Kabila’s People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) – attacked the headquarters of the opposition Union for Democracy and Social Progress and a broadcaster supporting the party today in Kinshasa, the capital, following an arson attack on the PPRD’s headquarters.
“The mission firmly condemns these incidents and calls on all parties involved in the electoral process to show restraint and to do every effort to avoid any act that could jeopardize the smooth operation of the elections,” MONUSCO said in a statement. The first round of presidential and parliamentary elections is scheduled for 27 November.
Since 1999, the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC – with some 19,000 uniformed personnel currently on the ground – has overseen the vast country’s emergence from years of civil war and factional chaos, culminating most notably in 2006 with the first democratic elections in over four decades. But fighting has continued sporadically in the east, where the bulk of UN forces are deployed.