Person shot dead at anti-Kabila protest ahead of DR Congo vote

President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Joseph Kabila.
President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Joseph Kabila.
Image: JOHN WESSELS / AFP

One person died at a protest on Tuesday against the arrival of the "pro-Kabila" candidate in a city in central DR Congo, five days ahead of elections that will see the country emerge from the 17-year presidency of Joseph Kabila.

The victim was a market woman who was shot in the head by soldiers after they opened fire on crowds in Tshikapa, a city in the restive central Kasai region, a local NGO said.

It comes after at least one other person was killed and more than 80 injured in weekend clashes in the city.

"The soldiers, who were supporting the police, opened fire to disperse the demonstrators. A woman who was selling embers at the Sokajik market was hit in the head," said the head of a Congolese NGO which was on site.

The death on Tuesday was confirmed by another source, which had observers in the area.

A campaign trip by "pro-Kabila" candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, a former interior minister and close ally of the president, was cancelled due to the unrest, according to a source close to his campaign.

"The tension is high. In these conditions, we cannot allow our candidate to land. We have cancelled his arrival today to calm the situation," a local official from the president's party told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Video posts on social media showed hundreds of young people, some armed with sticks, marching and chanting on Tuesday against the arrival of Shadary.

"At the moment, the city is paralysed. Only armed soldiers and police are moving but there are groups of young people who want to confront the security forces," said Fabien Ngweshi, a journalist based in Tshikapa.

At least seven people have died in pre-election violence since the beginning of campaigning on November 22, according to various sources.

Twenty-one candidates are running to replace 47-year-old Kabila, who has ruled the nation since the assassination of his father in 2001.

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