- An appeal court in Bas-Congo, the south-west region of Congo Kinshasa (DRC), delivered a ruling, ordering the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to repeat the second round polls of the governor and vice governor in the province. The IEC is mandated to set the date for the election.
During the first round, independent candidate Simon Mbatshi, who is closely allied to the ruling AMP party of President Joseph Kabila, won the polls by a single vote. He polled 15 out of the 29 of the provincial assembly legislators against his opponent, Fuka Unzola, a candidate of the opposition Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) who scored 14.
However, Mr Mbatshi's nomination was marred by allegations of corruption in the election because the province has been known for being a stronghold of the MLC. A political religious group, Bunda Dia Kongo (BDK), whose spiritual guide, Ne Muanda Nsemi, ran for the post of deputy governor with the defeated Fuka Unzola, protested bitterly against this development.
A day before their unauthorised march on 1 February, Congolese police raided the offices of the BDK. Despite being denied the right to march, opposition supporters took to the streets. This resulted to a fracas between opposition supporters and police, leaving 134 people dead.
Concerned about the events, the Congolese authorities set up six commissions to ascertain circumstances that led to the problem.
The preliminary report of the commissions scolded BDK members for causing the unrest. General Mbuyama Nsiona, the commander of the second military region and Mr Mukendo, the provincial inspector of Bas-Congo police have also been blamed for the killings. They were therefore suspended from their positions.
Besides, the human rights office of the United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUC) has also dispatched a team of experts to the scene to gather information.
The UN's Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, also added his voice to the problem, calling for the case to be probed immediately.
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