UN requests release of 28 opposition members in DRC
Head of MONUSCO peacekeeping mission says they were 'abitrarily' arrested
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the
By Godfrey Olukya
ARU, Democratic Republic of Congo
The UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo has requested that authorities immediately release 28 opposition members who were arrested by security forces on Sunday.
Head of the MONUSCO mission, Maman Sidikou said in a statement released Monday that they had been arbitrarily arrested in Lubumbashi, the country's second biggest city located in the southwestern Haut-Katanga province.
"I urge the Congolese authorities to release immediately and unconditionally those arbitrarily arrested yesterday in Lubumbashi," he said.
"Such restrictions on fundamental freedoms are incompatible with ongoing efforts to promote the dialogue and serenity needed to hold free, credible and independent elections in a timely manner," he said.
Activists from opposition political parties -- members of the platform Rassemblement des Forces Sociales et Politiques Acquises au Changement, a gathering of poltical and civil society forces for change -- were arrested on Sunday while attending a private meeting at the headquarters of the leading opposition party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS).
The political situation in DRC has been extremely tense since President Joseph Kabila, who came to power in 2001, refused to leave office after his term expired on Dec. 19, 2016 and elections were not held.
Earlier this month, the election commission said a poll to replace him could not be held before April 2019.
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