Fire destroys DRC election voting machines, Commission reports

Reading Time: < 1 minute

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s National Electoral Commission says a fire broke out at one of its warehouses in the western province of Mai-Ndombe and destroyed hundreds of voting machines intended for use in the elections scheduled for December 20th.

Authorities have called for an investigation to establish the cause of the fire that broke out at night at a warehouse in Bolobo town in the DRC’s western province of Mai-Ndombe.

Officials at the Independent National Electoral Commission say it destroyed 163 electronic voting machines and more than 100 voting booths.

It’s still not clear whether it was an arson attack.

The fire occurred three weeks before the DRC holds its presidential elections.

The polls will be held amid ongoing conflict in the east of the country. Government forces are battling the M23 rebels who have captured swathes of territory in North Kivu province.

More than 6 000 people fled the fighting in the village of Kilolirwe to seek refuge in the town of Sake.

Local authorities say they are in dire need of food, shelter, and medicine.

In other news, more than 100 militiamen in the east of the DRC have agreed to lay down their weapons as part of a peace effort initiated by the government.

The militiamen are from the Mai-Mai rebel group in the territory of Lubero.

They are now waiting to be reintegrated into the community under the Disarmament, Demobilisation Community and Social Reintegration Programme.

The UN says there are more than 120 armed groups in the east of the DRC fighting over land, political power and the control of minerals.