DRC govt slams Catholic Church’s call for election results

Congo warns of vote result delay as tallies trickle

US President Donald Trump said on Friday that American military personnel had been deployed to Gabon in response to possible violent demonstrations in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a presidential election there.

The combat troops and supporting military aircraft would provide security to USA citizens, personnel and diplomatic facilities in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, should the need arise.

Trump said the troops "will remain in the region until the security situation ... becomes such that their presence is no longer needed", and that he may deploy additional forces to Gabon "if necessary".

Attempts by authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo to crack down on dissent during tense vote counting could "backfire", the United Nations said on Friday, warning it was "watching carefully" as events unfold. The elections were scheduled for 2016 but postponed for two years following violence in the capital of Kinshasa and confusion about the size of the voting population.

First results are expected on Sunday.

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President Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001, did not run in the elections. This could be Congo's first peaceful transition of power since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960.

We'll soon find out who will be the new president of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) called on the election commission to "publish the election results in keeping with truth and justice".

The US also called on the DRC authorities to remove restrictions on internet access and media and urged the Independent National Election Commission (CENI) to count votes in a transparent way.

"Respect of the election results is crucial", Faki said in a brief message posted on Twitter.

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Global pressure is growing on Congo to restore internet service and release accurate election results, while some Congolese express doubt that the first results will be released on Sunday as expected.

The United States urged Congo to release accurate results and restore internet access, warning that those who undermine the democratic process could face USA sanctions. On Friday, the UN Security Council met behind closed doors to discuss the Congo.

Kabila's champion Shadary, a hardliner and former interior minister, and Emmanuel Tshisekedi, head of the UDPS, the country's oldest and largest opposition party, each said they had won.

Congo government spokesman Lambert Mende defended its handling of the election, saying public safety concerns justified a decision to cancel voting in the Ebola-hit cities of Beni and Butembo, and cutting internet access until the results were known was meant to stop the spread of false news about the outcome. Regional observers have said the vote went relatively well given the organisational challenges.

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