DR Congo closes border with Rwanda citing security concerns

DR Congo closes border with Rwanda citing security concerns

Kinshasa, DR Congo | By Michael Wandati | The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) closed its borders with Rwanda on Wednesday 20, December 2023 during the presidential election, citing security concerns and the desire for a peaceful voting process.

Armed security personnel were deployed at major border entries and flights at Goma International Airport were suspended in North Kivu province.

Tensions between DR Congo and Rwanda are heightened, with DRC accusing Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebels in conflicts across several territories. Rwanda denies these allegations.

Approximately 44 million people are expected to participate in the voting process, with reported delays and malfunctions in various regions, including Goma, Bukavu, Beni, Lubumbashi, and Tshikapa.

Denis Kadima, president of the Electoral Commission (Céni), reassured the public about the transparency of the electoral process. Rutshuru and Masisi territories were excluded from voting due to the M23 insurgency. East African Community (EAC) countries were barred from election observation due to concerns about potential influence.

The election involves 18 candidates, including incumbent President Félix Tshisekedi (candidate number 19) seeking a second term. Seven candidates withdrew, and the main competition is anticipated among Tshisekedi, Moïse Katumbi, and Martin Fayulu.