DRC crisis stokes fears of widespread violence

A simmering political crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo that the US and its allies have been unable to defuse, is stoking fears in Congress that one of Africa’s largest countries is on the verge of slipping into widespread violence.
Tension is building in the DRC over President Joseph Kabila’s manoeuvring to avoid national elections and remain in office beyond his constitutionally permitted term, according to US officials and members of a coalition opposing Kabila. The Obama administration has threatened to sanction anyone who undermines security and democracy in the country.
Yet that warning has so far failed to sway Kabila and members of his government, who’ve been accused of cracking down on political foes and activists in a bid to remain in power.
“It’s a really dicey situation,” said Senator John McCain, one of several lawmakers who’ve used their oversight role to draw greater attention to conditions in the DRC. McCain last month wrote to the Congolese ambassador in Washington, telling him that the advocacy group Human Rights Watch has documented dozens of cases of arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention. Congolese authorities have even threatened to kill those who’ve challenged Kabila, McCain wrote.

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