9 dead in Congo poll clashes

Voting materials failed to arrive in some opposition strongholds, raising doubts about the legitimacy of the poll.

Country experts and opposition leaders had urged the government to delay the vote due to massive logistical problems in Congo, which suffered decades of dictatorship and civil war. Some polling stations are so remote that ballot boxes had to be transported for across muddy trails on the heads of porters and by dugout canoe across churning rivers.
There are fears that election disputes could spark more violence in this country, where militias and rebel groups still terrorise citizens in the country’s east.

Violence over the weekend left at least four people dead, and it continued overnight Monday when gunmen opened fire on a truck transporting ballots in the southeastern town of Lubumbashi. That attack and a subsequent one on a voting center left five more dead, according to Dikanga Kazadi, the provincial interior minister. In the capital, police fired tear gas at a polling station after rival political supporters clashed.

In pockets throughout the country, voting centres were forced to open late, and some didn’t open at all as they waited for trucks ferrying the necessary forms and equipment. At polling station No. 10053 located in the same Catholic school, election officials could not open because the ink used to mark the index fingers of voters hadn’t been delivered.

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