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Mon Sep 26 12:28:37 SAST 2016

DR Congo opposition suspends role in 'dialogue' process

AFP | 23 September, 2016 14:45
Although Kabila's current term ends on December 20, no date for new elections has been announced and there are fears he plans to stay in power. File photo
Image by: LUCAS JACKSON / REUTERS

An opposition group taking part in a so-called "national dialogue" to resolve a political crisis in DR Congo said Friday it had suspended its participation after deadly violence in the capital this week.

Rioting and deadly protests against President Joseph Kabila on Monday and Tuesday claimed at least 50 lives, according to the United Nations.

The dialogue was hit Tuesday by the Catholic church freezing its participation.

"In light of the tragedy of these lives cut short, the delegation... has agreed to postpone the ongoing work... during this time of contemplation," said a co-moderator of the opposition groups taking part, Vital Kamerhe, in a statement.

This is the second time the group has walked out of the talks, having suspended their participation on September 12 because they said they were being "led down a dead-end street."

The African Union-facilitated dialogue has struggled for legitimacy since the beginning due to the absence of the main opposition, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS).

The UPDS organised a rally on Monday to demand the resignation of President Kabila, who has ruled since 2001 and, under the constitution, is barred from running for another term.

Although Kabila's current term ends on December 20, no date for new elections has been announced and there are fears he plans to stay in power.

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