Congo: Bullets Follow the Ballots


: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)
August 23, 2006: In what could be called an "all parties agreement," forces loyal to Congo's President Joseph Kabila and key opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba signed a ceasefire agreement. Representatives from the UN Mission in Congo (MONUC), the Congolese Army, EUFOR (European peacekeeping forces) and EUPOL (European police mission) also signed the agreement. Kabila's and Bemba's forces both agreed to pull back from the center of Kinshasha. Gunfire (including artillery duels) broke out on August 20 in Kinshasha.
As of August 22, 15 people had died in the fighting. President Joseph Kabila's supporters claimed that opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba's armed supporters (his political party's militia) tried to "shut down Kinshasha" on August 20 in order to prevent the announcement of the July 30 presidential election results. Bemba supporters said one of their headquarters was attacked by "Kabila loyalists" and two people were killed.
On August 21, elements of the presidential guard (loyal to Kabila) attacked Bemba's supporters and positions near Bemba's Kinshasha compound. The presidential guard had tank support in their attack. The presidential guard (which is essentially Kabila's militia) has approximately 15,000 soldiers. A UN source said that 150 UN troops in armored vehicles drove into Bemba's neighborhood and helped extract "foreign envoys" in the area.
August 22, 2006: Uganda warned that it would send its forces into the eastern Congo to "root out" the LRA is the current round of peace talks with the LRA falters. Uganda said that it would not allow the LRA to "regroup and recruit" new members. Uganda maintains that the LRA is now operating out of the Congo's Garamba National Park area.
August 20, 2006: The Congo's Independent Electoral Commission announced the results of the July 30 election. President Joseph Kabila got 44 percent of the vote and Jean-Pierre Bemba 20 percent. A run-off is scheduled for October. 31 other presidential candidates split the remainder. Election officials said 16.9 million ballots were cast,


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