In clashes in December, according to the UN, many more people died than previously known. The scene was the city of Yumbi in the west of the country, whose inhabitants were eventually passed over in the elections.
The United Nations has released information that at least 890 people have died in violent clashes in the West Democratic Republic of the Congo. Thus, the number of dead is much higher than previously thought. Recently, a local activist and priest had spoken of 400 victims. According to UN figures, the latest figures are based on “reports from credible sources,” sources in Geneva said. “It is crucial that this shocking violence be promptly and thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators held to account,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.
Three days of raw violence
The outbreak of violence in four villages in the Yumbi area began on 16 December and lasted for three days. Apparently, members of the Banunu tribe quarreled with those of the Batende when they could not agree on a place for the funeral of a village elder. This resulted in real battles, in front of which an estimated 16,000 people fled via the Congo to the neighboring Republic of the Congo.
According to UN data, more than 450 buildings were burned or looted – including schools, a health center and the local office of the National Electoral Commission. Whether there was any connection with the presidential elections that were held a few days later is unclear. With reference to the violence, the government placed the city of Yumbi on the list of areas in which the election should not be made until March. Nevertheless, the new president is to be sworn in on 22 January – the 1.2 million eligible voters in Yumbi and in two areas in the east of the country are therefore virtually excluded from democratic participation.
Change of power in sight
After the ballot on December 30, there is a change in power, as long-term President Joseph Kabila can not compete again after 17 years in office, and his wish-successor Emmanuel Shadary fared poorly. Surprisingly, the election commission Céni declared the candidate Felix Tshisekedi the winner. Election observers point to massive discrepancies with their observations in local polling stations, according to which opposition candidate Martin Fayulu would have won significantly. Opponents are suspicious that Kabila has reached an agreement with Tshisekedi that could secure amnesty and part of the power.