Protesters angry with the postponement of Sunday’s presidential election in parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo have attacked a clinic where possible Ebola cases are assessed.

 

Protesters angry with the postponement of Sunday’s presidential election in parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo have attacked a clinic where possible Ebola cases are assessed.

Opposition supporters suspect Mr Kabila is trying to cling on to power. He denies the allegation and is backing former Interior Minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary in the election.

The attack happened in the eastern city of Beni, one of three opposition areas where the vote has been postponed. Some people inside the Ebola assessment centre fled after it was attacked, a witness told the BBC. The police then arrived and fired shots in the air to disperse the crowd, the witness added.

During the attack, some tents were burnt down and tables and chairs were stolen, health ministry spokeswoman Jessica llunga told the BBC. Of the 21 who fled the centre, 17 had tested negative for Ebola once and were doing a second test while four others were doing a test for the first time, she added. Eleven of those who fled later returned but were “traumatised” by the attack, authorities said.

“They came back because they understand that fast and adequate care will increase their chance of survival if they prove to be infected by the Ebola virus,” a health ministry statement said.

Beni has been badly hit by the Ebola outbreak in the east of the country, which has killed more than 300 people since August.

The opposition says the credibility of the poll is in doubt in Goma, the main city in eastern DR Congo and also an opposition stronghold, crowds blocked a road in the Majengo neighbourhood and around the university, the BBC’s Gaius Kowene reports from the scene.

While Beni has been affected by the Ebola outbreak, nearby Butembo has seen attacks on civilians attributed to a Ugandan Islamist militia, the Allied Democratic Forces. Opposition supporters accused the government of attempting to disenfranchise them, and have vowed to continue with protests to force the electoral commission to reverse its decision.

DR Congo has not had a peaceful and democratic transfer of power since independence from Belgium in 1960. Mr Kabila, who has been in office since 2001, was meant to have stepped down in 2016.

However, the election to choose his successor has been continually postponed, amid unrest and logistical difficulties in a nation with poor infrastructure. Opposition supporters suspect Mr Kabila is trying to cling on to power. He denies the allegation and is backing former Interior Minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary in the election.

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