Offices, stores and schools are open, but security forces are positioned at every crossing and some 20,000 soldiers are deployed just in Kinshasa. MISNA missionary sources in various cities indicate that DR-Congo is holding its breath in the hope that the disputed confirmation of President Joseph Kabila doesn’t spark widespread violence.
“For the first time since the weekend unrest, vehicles are back on the streets and markets reopened”, said a missionary from the capital.
The reopening of the schools gave wide hope of a return to normalcy after the violence left at least 6 dead Friday and Saturday.
“Some parents kept their kids home for fear of violence, but many classes are also full”, explained the missionary.
Tension is especially high in the areas close to Etienne Tshisekedi, the candidate of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) who claims to be the real winner of the presidential election. MISNA sources report house to house searches and also police abuse in the areas most at risk of renewed unrest. In this context, a spokesman for Tshisekedi, announced that the opposition will only hold “peaceful rallies” over the next days.
According to the missionaries, more than the actual political rallies the major concern remains the infiltration of criminal groups that aim to spark instability and chaos. A concern, indicate MISNA sources, that grew after some 80 inmates escaped from a Kinshasa prison.
Clashes were reported over the weekend between security forces and opposition militants not only in the capital but also other cities, from Mbuji-Mayi in the West Kasai province to Bukavu, along the border with Rwanda and Burundi.
Religious sources in Lubumbashi, capital of the Katanga mining region, a Kabila stronghold in the east, spoke of a “relatively calm situation”. “The President obtained a majority of votes in the city, but financial and social difficulties are growing”, said to MISNA Father Jean Pail Ntambwa, a Salesian missionary.