Thousands Flee DRC Fearing Post-Election Violence

Posted December 5th, 2011 at 8:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Thousands of people are fleeing the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital, fearing that election results to be announced Tuesday will spark violence.

Police in the neighboring Congo Republic say at least 3,000 people have arrived in the capital Brazzaville since December 2.

Authorities say most of the arrivals are from the DRC capital, Kinshasa, which sits across the Congo River from Brazzaville, and where the situation is especially tense.

DRC election officials are expected to announce the full results of last week's presidential poll later Tuesday.

More than two-thirds of the ballots have already been counted, and results show President Joseph Kabila leading his main rival Etienne Tshisekedi by a margin of roughly 46 to 36 percent.

The camps of both President Kabila and Mr. Tshisekedi have warned that violence will erupt if the results do not hand victory to their candidate.

Both the United Nations and African Union are appealing to the two candidates to avoid bloodshed.

Last week's balloting was only the second free election since the African nation was torn apart by several years of warfare that ended in 2003.

Already, Human Rights Watch has reported the killings of at least 18 civilians and the wounding of 100 others in election-related attacks.

The voting over three days last week was described as chaotic in some areas, marred by what the U.N. Security Council called “logistical and technical difficulties.”