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Blaze hits electoral depot as tense vote nears

Fire has gutted an electoral commission depot in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the violent run-up to a presidential vote.

Election officials said voting machines had been destroyed in the blaze, which broke out overnight.

The cause of the fire has not been confirmed. Black smoke could still be seen over the site on Thursday morning.

The campaign to elect a successor to President Joseph Kabila on 23 December has been marred by deadly clashes.

The president's mandate ended in 2016, but elections have been repeatedly delayed.

Dozens of opposition supporters were killed in protests demanding that he step down.

Mr Kabila is backing his former Interior Minister, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, in the election.

The vote is expected to be a tight contest between him, opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi and business tycoon Martin Fayulu.

DR Congo has not had a peaceful, democratic transfer of power since independence from Belgium in 1960.

 

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Author: BBC

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