The United States has sent troops to Africa as tensions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are running high over its elections.
President Donald Trump officially informed Congress of the deployment on Friday, saying forces were being sent to neighboring Gabon “to be in position to support the security of United States citizens, personnel, and diplomatic facilities in Kinshasa,” The Hill reported.
Kinshasha is Congo’s capital.
“This deployment of approximately 80 personnel is in response to the possibility that violent demonstrations may occur in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in reaction to the December 30, 2018, elections there,” Trump wrote.
The first U.S. troops arrived Jan. 2, CBS reported.
“These deployed personnel will remain in the region until the security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo becomes such that their presence is no longer needed,” Trump stated in the letter.
“This action was taken consistent with my responsibility to protect United States citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of United States national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct United States foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive,” Trump wrote.
The DR Congo government said it cut the country’s internet services to avert a “popular uprising” as tensions rise pending the results of fractious presidential elections https://t.co/WWAWIiOobR pic.twitter.com/iQLgWW6VIa
— AFP news agency (@AFP) January 1, 2019
The announcement of who won in voting was supposed to take place Sunday, but has been delayed, the BBC reported
“It is not possible to publish the results on Sunday. We are making progress, but we do not have everything yet,” said Corneille Nangaa, head of the commission in charge of the elections, according to the BBC. She said fewer than half of the votes had been counted.
This comes days after the Catholic Church said its 40,000 election observers have said there is a clear winner, which it did not name in accordance with voting regulations, The Associated Press reported. The church called upon officials “to publish the election results in keeping with truth and justice.”
Although the church did not publicly say who it determined was the winner, The New York Times reported that opposition candidate Martin Fayulu has won.
And the lines are being drawn, Jason Stearns, director of the Congo Research Group at New York University, told the newspaper.
“(T)he Catholic Church is on collision course with the Congolese government,” said Stearns said.
“The Catholic Church has raised the stakes, stating clearly that they will publish what they consider to be true results of the elections and will defy the government if necessary,” Stearns said.
When the Congo’s electoral commission said the church’s comments on the vote could touch off an uprising, the church fired back that releasing false results would be what could ignite violence.
The election will replace President Joseph Kabila, who has wielded power for 17 years. Congo’s ruling party, which backs Kabila’s choice of Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, has called the church’s attitude “irresponsible and anarchist.”
Opposition leaders, however, blamed the government for botching — or rigging — the election.
#Congo Long-delayed elections were neither free nor fair. More than a million people in key opposition strongholds were barred from participating. Elsewhere, reports of long lines, voting machine malfunctions and missing voter materials were widespread. https://t.co/alMifF4Lpe
— The House of Kongo (@MvembaDizolele) January 1, 2019
Fayulu has accused officials of interfering with his campaign.
More than 16,000 U.N. troops are stationed in the country, NBC reported.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.