Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila Between His Wife and Mother at Campaign Rally
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire Photo File.
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila is close to winning the election run-off, with 90% of the votes counted, results show.
Mr Kabila has 60%, while former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba has 40%, according to results on the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) website.
Tension is high in the capital, Kinshasa, following weekend clashes in which four people were killed.
The vote is the first following DR Congo's five-year conflict.
The CEI is not declaring a winner until it investigates allegations of fraud by Mr Bemba and his supporters.
CEI spokesman Dieudonne Mirimo said Mr Bemba's party had now submitted five official complaints.
Votes counted: 90%
Following Saturday's violence, the police have arrested 337 homeless people, including 87 children, the government says, blaming them for starting the trouble.
Eye-witnesses say that security forces loyal to the two candidates exchanged gun- and mortar-fire.
United Nations observers say the election is the most significant in Africa since Nelson Mandela was elected as South Africa's president in 1994.
They are seen as the country's first free elections since independence in 1960.
Turnout was 66%, according to the CEI.
The commission has until 19 November to announce the results and stresses that no "trend projection" can be made on the basis of the provisional results.
Both men have pledged to respect the outcome of the election.
The first round of elections showed a regional divide, with Mr Kabila gaining a landslide in the Swahili-speaking east, while Mr Bemba got most support in the west, where Lingala is the common language.
The world's largest peacekeeping force - 17,000-strong - is in DR Congo, tasked with ensuring security.
At least 23 people were killed in gun battles between security forces loyal to the two men in the capital, Kinshasa, after the announcement of first round results.
Mr Kabila won 45% of the vote, while Mr Bemba got 20%.
International observers generally praised the vote as being well-run, despite some disruptions in the north-east of the country.
The election was intended to close the door on decades of dictatorship and conflict.
Counting the votes is a time-consuming process as all the ballot papers had to be transported from sometimes remote locations to compilation centres.
DR Congo is two-thirds the size of western Europe and has just 300 miles of paved roads.
The country's rich reserves of minerals such as gold, diamonds and coltan - used in mobile phones - have attracted a series of armed groups, both Congolese and foreign, intent on looting.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/13 14:42:38 GMT
Tuesday November 14, 12:53 AM
Police round up youths after clashes in DR Congo capital
Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo have rounded up hundreds of youths in Kinshasa after weekend clashes near the residence of Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba.
"In all 337 street kids have been picked up in the wake of the disturbances and put at the disposal of the National Service," an agency that gives training in farming, Police Provincial Inspector Patrick Sabiti said Monday.
Four people were killed on Saturday when police tried to disperse youths who gathered close to the official residence of the vice-president, who challenged President Joseph Kabila in an election where votes are still being counted.
Gunfire, mortar and rocket fire broke out as the police found themselves up against armed civilian members of Bemba's personal guard as well as young street gangs.
General Sabiti told AFP that the youths were not rounded up when the trouble took place but in subsequent police raids at the places where they settle down to spend their nights.
The city governor, Admiral Baoudouin Liwanga, issued a statement published in Monday's press announcing that the people detained included "87 minors and 35 (adult) women, three of them with babies."
The boys would be sent to an agricultural study centre at Kanyame-Kasese in the country's distant southeastern Katanga province, while the girls would go to another national service base at Menkao, on the eastern edge of Kinshasa.
They would all learn "to be useful to themselves and to the nation", the governor's statement said.
By Sunday morning, Bemba forces had vanished from the area around the vice-president's official residence, as UN soldiers and European troops reinforced their presence.
"The night was calm. We have no indication of any incident," Lieutenant-Colonel Thierry Fusalba, spokesman for the European Union peacekeeping force, said Sunday.
Tensions boiled over Saturday while electoral officials kept counting votes from the closing round October 29 of the first free presidential poll the DRC has known in more than 40 years, with Kabila strong in first place.
In the latest partial figures compiled on Monday by AFP from the results officially posted by the Independent Electoral Commission, Kabila had 59.6 percent of the votes while Bemba had 40.4 percent.
Those provisional results were based on figures from 156 of the 169 constituencies across the vast central African nation, covering 91.5 percent of the electorate of some 25 million registered voters.
Bemba's supporters have alleged that "systematic errors" in the vote count are an indication of fraud. The electoral commission is due to release the final result next Sunday, but it then has to be confirmed by the Supreme Court after challenges have been considered.
United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC)
13 Nov 2006
Kinshasa stays calm after Saturday's clashes
Eoin Young / MONUC
Kinshasa remains calm after the violence that erupted on Saturday November 11th 2006, in the central business district of Gombe, which involved the Congolese police and members of Vice President Bemba’s security forces, and left four people dead.
The trouble erupted at 11am close to one of Mr. Bemba’s offices on Kinshasa’s main Boulevard de 30 Juin, when street children aligned to Jean Pierre Bemba began protesting by burning tyres and blocking the flow of traffic.
The Congolese National Police (PNC) then scattered them by firing into the air. Subsequently, an exchange of light arms fire began between the PNC and the security forces loyal to Jean Pierre Bemba.
The unrest continued for a number of hours, with some mortars fired, but it was limited to a small area and did not spread due to the presence of MONUC armoured personnel carriers and patrols in the vicinity.
General Denis Kalume Numbi, the DRC Minister of the Interior, said on Saturday that the FARDC -the DRC armed forces- would intervene if the violence continued into the evening.
But this was not necessary as intensive negotiations and diplomacy between MONUC, Mr. Bemba and the PNC halted any further spread of the unrest.
UN special Representative for the DRC William Swing, and MONUC force commander General Babacar Gaye, met Mr. Bemba who agreed to billet all his troops for the remainder of the electoral process.
MONUC forces have now taken up positions close to Mr, Bemba’s residence as a preventative measure against further violence, in order to safeguard the integrity of the DRC electoral process.
EUFOR also maintained a proactive presence with patrols on the ground and continued air surveillance.
EUFOR spokeperson Lieutenant Colonel Thierry Fusalba said that they were ready to intervene on Saturday if required by MONUC.
“We were prepared and had all our resources ready at our disposal, and our air surveillance was monitoring the situation on the ground.”
Contrary to reports, he added that EUFOR did not witness the presence of any members of Kabila’s Republican Guard at the scene of the unrest.
This violence comes amid heightened tensions and accusations of irregularities in the electoral process in the last week.
However, the head of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Fr. Apollinaire Malu Malu, stated last week that there were no irregularities in the process.
The IEC is due to announce the provisional second round election results on Sunday next November 19th.