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United Nations urges restraint in Congo after 17 die in protests
[NAIROBI] United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon called for restraint in the Democratic Republic of Congo after clashes between protesters and the police left at least 17 people dead.
Thousands of people held a demonstration in the capital, Kinshasa, on Monday calling for President Joseph Kabila to step down.
Africa's biggest copper producer has never had a peaceful transfer of leadership and Kabila, in power since 2001 and whose mandate ends in December, could remain in office for longer as the electoral commission seeks a postponement of elections originally scheduled for November.
As many as 50 people died in Monday's violence, Agence France-Presse reported, citing an opposition statement.
The violence continued on Tuesday, with armed men setting fire to the headquarters of the opposition Forces for Renovation for Union and Solidarity, Olivier Kamitatu, a leader of the G7 opposition group, said on his Twitter account.
"The secretary-general urges all concerned political leaders and their supporters to refrain from any further violence that could exacerbate the situation," Mr Ban's office said in an e-mailed statement.
"He also calls on all political leaders to address their differences peacefully and through dialogue."