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US Embassy in DRC Closed Because of Terror Threat


FILE - DRC government spokesperson Lambert Mende speaks in Kinshasa, Aug. 8, 2018.
FILE - DRC government spokesperson Lambert Mende speaks in Kinshasa, Aug. 8, 2018.

The United States has closed its embassy in the Democratic Republic of Congo because of what it says is "credible and specific" information about a terror threat.

The embassy in Kinshasa will remain closed at least through Tuesday, and all U.S. citizens in the DRC are "strongly encouraged" to keep a low profile.

The Congolese government is accusing the U.S. of creating "needless fear and uncertainty" by closing the embassy.

It also says Washington and others who have "no control over the electoral process" are trying to "distract" voters ahead of the Dec. 23 presidential election.

Officials did not say what they think outsiders hope to gain by distracting people. But they say election observers from the European Union and the U.S.-based Carter Center are not invited — only those from other African states.

The DRC has been trying for two years to hold an election to replace longtime president Joseph Kabila.

But violence, armed militias, and problems organizing a new vote have led to two postponements.

Kabila was supposed to have stepped down in 2016 when his second term ended. But he invoked a clause in the constitution allowing him to stay in office until a successor is chosen.

The opposition accuses him of doing what he can to keep power.

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