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DRC Minister Warns Opposition Over Jail Break Threats

Congolese opposition party politician Etienne Tshisekedi (file photo)

Congolese opposition party politician Etienne Tshisekedi (file photo)

The Democratic Republic of Congo has launched an investigation into recent comments by opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi proclaiming himself president and calling for a massive jailbreak.

In an interview with VOA on Tuesday, Congo's information minister Lambert Mende condemned the opposition leader's statement as irresponsible and potentially criminal. He said the remarks could undermine the country's stability ahead of elections on November 28.

In a television broadcast Sunday, Tshisekedi gave officials a 48-hour ultimatum to release opposition prisoners saying if they were not freed by that time, then the population should release them. Tshisekedi added "as president," he was ordering prison guards not to resist.

Mende said the pro-opposition television station, RLTV, which aired the live interview has been shut down pending an investigation by the justice ministry.

The 78-year-old Tshisekedi is one of two main opposition candidates challenging President Joseph Kabila in the presidential poll.

The vote is the country's second democratic election since achieving independence in 1960.