Gunfire as Congo police disperse mourners at Kinshasa church


KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Witnesses say police in Congo’s capital have fired into the air and used tear gas to disperse people attending a mass at Kinshasa’s Catholic cathedral to honor people killed in clashes with security forces.

Catholic churches and activists had called for the New Year’s Eve protests against President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down. They came one year after the Catholic church oversaw the signing of an accord that set a new election date to ease tensions in the vast, mineral-rich Central African country.

Kabila, whose mandate ended in December 2016, had agreed to set an election by the end of 2017. But Congo’s election commission later said the vote cannot be held until December 2018.

Critics accuse Kabila of postponing elections to maintain his grip on power.

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