Wednesday 27.9.2017 in Latest Developments in Republic of the Congo Country Page
While the legislative and local elections took place on 16th July, with a second round on 30th July, the climate of insecurity in the Pool region deteriorated, creating a humanitarian crisis with a surge of refugees, estimated to be more than 138,000 displaced. A civil war raged between the army and an armed group led by Frédéric Bintsamou, better known as Pasteur Ntumi, in the Pool region between 1998 and 2003, and the violence has flared up again since president Denis Sassou N’Guesso was reelected in April 2016. Due to the violence, a major part of the Pool region was excluded from the electoral process, including nine electoral districts.
In the run-up of the legislative and local elections that took place on 16th July, authorities prevented a protest by the youth movement from the opposition. The protest, planned for 10th July in Brazzaville, called for a boycott of the elections, citing the climate of insecurity in the Pool region. However, an excessive police presence at the meeting point for the protest, namely the roundabout of Moungali in Brazzaville, prevented it from actually taking place.
According to Les Echos du Congo Brazzaville, journalist Chanel Ibata Ndinga from the regional channel of Congolese Television was physically attacked on 21st August 2017 in Pointe-Noire by a customs agent who injured Ndinga's face. It is unclear whether the motive of the attack was related to Ndinga's work as a journalist.
On 18th September, Reporters without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists wrote a joint open letter to President Sassou Nguessoto demanding the release of Ghys Fortuné Dombé Bemba, editor of the newspaper Talassa. Bemba, who has been detained since 11th January 2017 without a trial date set.