2 dead in anti-government protests in Congo's capital

Congo Police accused of killing two during anti-government protests

Faced with protests called by religious leaders, the security forces responded by allegedly deploying teargas on worshippers, arresting demonstrators, including 12 altar boys, and threatening to shoot journalists.

The delay has fuelled suspicions Kabila will try to remove constitutional term limits that forbid him from running again, as presidents in neighbouring countries have done.

Trigger-happy security forces are notorious for using live ammunition against critics demanding the resignation of the strongman who assumed power after his father Laurent was assassinated in 2001.

Leonie Kandolo, spokeswoman for one of the groups that organized the demonstrations, said more than 10 people were killed and several injured.

That agreement - facilitated by Conférence Episcopale Nationale du Congo (CENCO) mediators, and reached in Kinshasa on 31 December 2016 - allowed President Joseph Kabila to stay in power beyond the end of his term and has stipulated that peaceful, credible and inclusive elections would be organised in DRC by the end of December 2017.

Congo's election commission has set new presidential and legislative elections for December 23, 2018, though the opposition has said it would only agree to delay the vote until June 2018. "What's more, you have a white man with you - that's a race that causes us problems". She also said that dozens, including some priests, have been detained.

A member of the Congolese security forces chases people during protests in Kinshasa on Sunday.

"While we were praying, the soldiers and the police entered the church compound and fired tear gas in the church", he said.

Impatience boiled over on Sunday, with all the country's main opposition and civil society groups joining in the call for peaceful protests.

Kabila, whose mandate ended in December 2016, had agreed to set an election date by the end of 2017.

DR Congo, rich with mineral wealth but plagued by violence, has not had a peaceful transition of power since independence from Belgium in 1960.

Elections had been due to take place by the end of this year under a church-mediated deal.

"These destabilising acts of agitation aim to create an atmosphere of insurrection which would enable them to seize power in our country by undemocratic means", he said, citing a government report.

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