At least 8,000 e-voting machines were destroyed in a fire at a depot in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

That’s more than two-thirds of the number needed by the four million voters in the capital. Other electoral materials were also destroyed.

The president of the National Electoral Commission of the Democratic Republic of Congo (CENI) called the blow disastrous, but added that the authorities would do everything possible to maintain the vote on 23 December.

CENI indicates that it plans to use voting machines that were sent to other parts of the country and that were to serve as a reserve in case of problems.

The use of these machines has proved controversial as many believe they could facilitate vote-rigging, and several opposition candidates have called for them to be outright banned.

The reason for the fire is still unknown, but this incident follows the worrying evolution of the situation in the country.

In recent days, there have been clashes with the police at election rallies. More than 40 people were reportedly injured and some were reportedly killed.

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