The Democratic Republic of Congo said Monday it had indefinitely postponed voter registration in two provinces of its troubled central Kasai region after the brutal killing of an electoral official. On April 3, Philippe Iyidimbe, of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), “was decapitated by militias of chief Kamwina Nsapu in Ndekesha,” in central DRC, the CENI said in a statement. He had travelled to the Kasai capital, Tshikapa, to train technical staff, it added. Following Iyidimbe’s killing and the “destruction” of electoral materials and offices, “voter registration in Kasai-central and in Kasai, which should have started on April 30, has been delayed [indefinitely] due to insecurity” sparked by Nsapu’s rebellion, commission president Corneille Nangaa told AFP.
Kasai has seen a major spike in violence since September, leaving at least 400 dead in an uprising that erupted when government forces killed Nsapu, a tribal chief and militia leader, who had rebelled against President Joseph Kabila.
The UN has accused the Nsapu rebels of using child soldiers and committing several atrocities, while also denouncing the disproportionate use of force by the military.
The UN has reported finding 40 mass graves, while two UN researchers — Michael Sharp, an American, and Zaida Catalan, a dual Swedish-Chilean national — investigating the violence were abducted and shot dead. One of the victims was also beheaded.