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Report: DRC mobilised former M23 rebel fighters to squash 2016 protests

Human Rights Watch released a report into violence in the central African country earlier on Monday.

FILE: FILE: DRC President Joseph Kabila. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - A report has found senior security forces in the DRC mobilised over 200 former M23 rebel fighters from neighbouring countries to squash protests against President Joseph Kabila in December 2016.

Human Rights Watch released the report into violence in the central African country earlier today.

Kabila has since strengthened his hold on power and delayed elections, raising concern that planned protests will be met with further violence and repression.

The report found at least 62 people were killed and hundreds were arrested during country-wide protests when Kabila refused to step down at the end of his constitutionally mandated second term last year.

His office has, however, said he would remain in power until a new leader is elected, following elections that will only be held in December 2018.