The President of Congo’s Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante (CENI) [advocacy website, in French] , Corneille Nangaa [official website, in French] on Friday warned the presidential election may be postponed due to sectarian violence. Nangaa make the remarks during an interview with Reuters [report]. He expressed concern about the violence in the region and the militia’s interference with the election process. Nangaa and CENI remain committed [press release, in French] to ensuring the election takes places by the end of the year. Of concern to Nangaa is the issue of fighting in the region of Kasai, Kasai Central and Lomami. In a previous statement Nangaa expressed[Acuatlite report, in French] the following,
It is now up to the government to use all means in its power to pacify the provinces of Kasai, Kasai Central and Lomami, favoring peaceful means of conflict resolution and ending the militarization of an oasis of peace. Opinion leaders, for their part, are committed to raising awareness among all sections of the population of Kasai to create a climate of peace and tranquility conducive to electoral operations and to participate massively in them.
Violence in the Congo has plagued the nations for years. Spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency, Babar Baloch, said [JURIST report] in a press release in April that over 11,000 refugees from the Kasai province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have recently escaped to Angola due to violence in their province. The top prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) released a statement [JURIST report] also in April alleging that recent acts of violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) could amount to war crimes. In March, Secretary-General António Guterres confirmed [JURIST report] that the remains of two human rights investigators were found in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).