US deploying troops to Congo ahead of possible ‘violent demonstrations’ following election

The White House informed Congress on Friday that it is sending troops to Congo ahead of possible “violent demonstrations” in reaction to Sunday’s presidential election there.

The letter says about 80 military personnel have deployed “to be in position to support the security of United States citizens, personnel, and diplomatic facilities in Kinshasa,” the nation’s capital.

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The letter states that more military personnel will deploy as needed to Gabon or neighboring Republic of Congo and that troops will remain in the region until the security situation “becomes such that their presence is no longer needed.” 

The presidential election is Congo’s chance at its first democratic and peaceful transition of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960. However, election observers and the opposition voiced concerns about voter irregularities, according to The Associated Press.

First results from the election are expected on Sunday. 

The campaign has been marred by violence, with security forces using tear gas and live ammunition to stop opposition candidate Martin Fayulu from campaigning in certain parts of the country, according to Al Jazeera.