On Wednesday, November 21, relatives announced that three activists campaigning for Emmanuel Ramazani Shadari, the presidential candidate from the ruling CFF coalition (Front Commun pour le Congo) had been killed in Kasaï-Central province. The exact date of their killing remains unknown and their bodies have not been found. The identity of the assailants remains unknown, but the Kamuina Nsapu militia is a potential culprit. Further such political violence is likely ahead of the December 23 elections.
The official electoral campaign period began November 22. President Joseph Kabila, whose second term officially ended in December 2016, will not be running himself. He is backing former Interior Minister Shadary.
The Kamuina Nsapu militia has been mounting an insurgency against the government in Kasai-Central province since April 2016. Fighting escalated following the death of a militia leader in clashes with the army in August 2016 and has since spread into Kasai, Kasai-Oriental, and Lomami provinces. Attacks by the group, which targets police, military officials, and civilians perceived as supporting or representing the government, have become commonplace in these areas, claiming the lives of more than 3000 people and resulting in some 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs).
The political and security situation in DRC is complex. Travelers should consider making contingency plans in the event of outbreaks of violence. Although travel is permissible in some areas, other areas may be considered off limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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