Mike Pompeo

The US State Department recommends non-essential government personnel and family members of government employees to leave the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The DRC is due to hold a presidential election on 23 December. And the United States fears violence.

In an e-mail addressed to its nationals, the US State Department announced its “limited capacity to provide services to US citizens living outside Kinshasa, particularly in the provinces of eastern and central Kasaï”.

The US embassy in Kinshasa was closed for a week last month because of “a possible terrorist threat”.

Two diplomats told the Reuters news agency that the alleged threat was linked to the arrest of a cell of Tanzanian jihadists belonging to the Ugandan Islamist group ADF. Britain urged its citizens on Wednesday not to visit the DRC.

The outgoing president, Joseph Kabila, who succeeded his father who was assassinated in 2001, is not running for the December 23 election.

The campaign for this election has been violating since the beginning of the week. Security forces opened fire to disperse an opposition rally. At least four people were killed. A fire in the capital Kinshasa also destroyed thousands of voting machines and ballot boxes early Thursday morning.

The ruling coalition and opposition candidates accuse each other of causing the incident. The UN human rights chief on Friday urged the Congolese authorities to put an end to violence and inflammatory speeches before the election.

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