By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Security Forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Monday briefly laid siege at the home of main opposition politician Moïse Katumbi, who came second in last month’s disputed elections won by President Félix Tshisekedi.
Katumbi was prevented from leaving his home in southern Katanga province on Monday, his spokesperson Hervé Diakesse said.
According to a BBC report, the security forces later retreated on the instruction of a local governor.
Katumbi has rejected Tshisekedi’s landslide victory in last month’s election as a sham, but says he will not challenge it in court, citing lack of confidence in the state’s institutions.
Five other opposition leaders, including Martin Fayulu, who came third, have called for a protest march against the election results, but the government warned that it would not watch the peace in the country truncated by the protests.
Social media videos indicate that residents of Kashobwe village were trooping in their large numbers to Mr Katumbi’s home after news broke that security forces were preventing him from leaving.
One of Katumbi’s relatives told French RFI news website that the home was surrounded by “heavily armed soldiers”.
“We are struggling to figure out why,” Diakesse, told Reuters news agency.
In a bid to defuse the escalating crisis, provincial governor Jacques Kyabula Katwe ordered the security forces to leave, calling the incident a “faux pas”.
He said the initial intention of the security forces was to protect Katumbi’s property from potential acts of vandalism.
The 20th December election was marred by widespread logistical problems, with some independent observers raising concerns about the vote.
Only one candidate has gone to court to challenge the presidential election results.
The main ones say they have no faith in the courts and have instead called for the population to “resist electoral fraud” without giving any details.
Tshisekedi won about 73% of the vote, while Katumbi got 18% and Fayulu 5%, the election commission said.