UN warns of violence in DRC ahead of vote

United Nations — The United Nations envoy for Congo is warning of civil unrest and violence in the run-up to legislative and presidential elections scheduled for November.

Maman Sidikou told the Security Council on Thursday that the elections are a deeply divisive issue because there is still no agreement on an electoral calendar or a budget for the elections.

He also says a national dialogue announced by President Joseph Kabila to forge consensus on the electoral process hasn’t begun, in part because of opposition from many major opposition groups.

Congo hasn’t had a peaceful transfer of power in 55 years of independence. Kabila is barred by the constitution from seeking a third term but is widely believed to be seeking to prolong his rule.

Meanwhile, a United Nations-backed radio station says that a UN helicopter was attacked by suspected rebels in Congo’s east.

A spokesperson with the UN mission in Congo, Charles Bambara, confirmed the attack near Erengeti in Beni territory in Congo’s North Kivu province. He said there were no injuries, and little damage. The helicopter landed safely.

Bambara said that Allied Defence Forces rebels were suspected in the attack.

UN’s Radio Okapi reported that an investigation is underway.

Eastern Congo is home to myriad armed groups, many vying for control of the region’s vast mineral resources.

Beni territory has been the site of repeated attacks by ADF rebels, who have origins in neighbouring Uganda. Those attacks have killed at least 500 civilians since October 2014, according to the UN. – AFP

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