US pulls non-essential staff out of DRC ahead of election

The embassies of Canada, Britain and Switzerland joined the US last week in expressing concern about the loss of ahead of the end-of-era poll.

FILE: People look on as protesters burn tyres during a demonstration calling for the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)to step down on 21 January, 2018 in Kinshasa. Picture: AFP

PRETORIA – Washington’s pulling its non-essential diplomatic staff out of the Democratic Republic of Congo ahead of elections in five days’ time.

The embassies of Canada, Britain and Switzerland joined the US last week in expressing concern about the loss of life ahead of the end-of-an-era poll.

Twenty-one candidates are running to replace President Joseph Kabila whose hand-picked successor Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary is one of the front-runners.

The mineral-rich central African giant has never seen a peaceful transition of power since independence from Belgium in 1960.

More than 40 million voters will cast their ballots on Sunday to choose a successor to 47-year-old Kabila, who has ruled the nation since the assassination of his father in 2001.