Two police officers among four killed in DR Congo protests

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Two police officers and two civilians were killed on Thursday in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s south-western city of Kikwit following an eruption of protests over the presidential election result.

Felix Tshisekedi was declared winner of the December 30 vote, though runner-up Martin Fayulu’s camp has alleged fraud, allegations supported by the country’s influential Catholic Church.

Police authorities confirmed Thursday’s deaths, which came just a day after the result was released. 

“In the operation to restore public order today [Thursday] in Kikwit, two policemen and two civilian were killed. We also recorded 10 wounded,” AFP quotes city police chief General Dieudonne Mutepeke.

The DR Congo’s presidential election was held on December 30 after over two years of delay. 

The country’s electoral commission said it was not able to hold the vote in November 2016 as planned due to logistical challenges. 

Opposition leaders in the country accused President Joseph Kabila of frustrating the electoral process as a way of clinging on to power, allegations he denied.

If the process moves smoothly to completion, DR Congo will witness its first ever peaceful transfer of power since it gained independence in 1960.