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Elections delayed in Ebola-hit Congo

01 January 2019

Police in eastern Congo fired live ammunition and tear gas on Thursday to disperse more than 100 people protesting a presidential election delay, blamed on a deadly Ebola outbreak, that means more than 1 million votes will not count. Some protesters attacked an Ebola treatment center, with a number of patients fleeing.

Congo's long march to Sunday's polls took a turn for the worst on Wednesday when the country's electoral commission announced that it would be delaying the vote in three opposition strongholds due to "the persistence of the Ebola disease" and "the threat of terrorism".

Coming a day after political protests flared in two Ebola outbreak locations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the World Health Organization (WHO) today voiced deep concerns about the negative impacts of insecurity on control efforts.

The reasons given for the latest delay aren't credible, Fayulu said.

Congo's about 40 million registered voters will decide the fate of a vast country that is rich in the mineral wealth central to smartphones and electric cars but desperately poor in infrastructure and basic services.

Exiled Democratic Republic of Congo opposition leader Moise Katumbi has urged Congolese to rise and take possession of their country in response to attempts by President Joseph Kabila's regime to manipulate the election on December 30.

To this Kabila responded, "The composition of the electoral commission does not give any advantages to anyone composant - meaning you have the majority [ruling party], you have the opposition which is represented in the commission, and of course the civil society".

On Friday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on all sides "to continue working together to ensure an environment free of violence so that all eligible voters can cast their ballots peacefully on election day".

Those included providing tonnes of hand sanitiser (Ebola is spread via infected bodily fluids) and the screening of all voters entering polling stations.

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Earlier in the year, Goleta's Kmart closed , with Target intending to take over the space at Storke Road and Hollister Avenue . He said he meant to bid $4.6 billion for 500 stores and other operating assets, including the Kenmore appliance brand.

On Wednesday, it declared the vote would be postponed again in violence-hit parts of the country.

Public support for Kabila's preferred successor, Shadary, has remained flat in recent weeks even as the popularity of Fayulu, the joint opposition candidate, has soared.

Protesters said life had continued in the outbreak zone, with schools open, people going to church and candidates holding campaign rallies. The government says voting in the cities of Beni and Butembo is delayed until March because of a deadly Ebola outbreak.

Ambulances were seen racing towards the facility after the attack.

The election commission "has crossed a red line", said Lamuka, which is backed by two of the DRC's powerbrokers - former warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba and the ex-governor of Katanga, Moise Katumbi.

Health teams in Beni were prevented from carrying out critical field work, including vaccinations, tracing of potential Ebola carriers, and following up on alerts of potential new cases.

The incident followed the announcement that elections planned for Sunday in the region had once again been postponed because of local unrest, as well as the Ebola outbreak.

But with the new president due to be sworn in next month, it appears the votes of more than a million people will be discounted.

Elections delayed in Ebola-hit Congo