Voting machines for DR Congo election go up in flames

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A fire overnight at a warehouse in Kinshasa destroyed thousands of voting machines and ballot boxes due to be used in the December 23 presidential election, a presidential adviser said.

Barnabe Kikaya Bin Karubi said 70% of the equipment for voting in Kinshasa where more than 15% of Democratic Republic of Congo’s population lives, was destroyed in the fire allegedly started by “criminals”.

Kikaya said preparations for the vote, which could mark the country’s first peaceful transfer of power, would go ahead and voting machines from elsewhere would be brought back to Kinshasa.

He said the fire was the work of criminals and police guarding the warehouse were arrested. The Kinshasa police chief said forensic police were on site to investigate.

The vote to replace President Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001, was initially due to take place in 2016 but was repeatedly delayed due to logistical and security problems.