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DR Congo poll dispute: Sadc urges patience and peace

The Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) has urged political factions in the Democratic Republic of Congo to use legal means to address disputes following the announcement of results of the 30 December presidential election.

Opposition figure Felix Tshisekedi was declared the winner amid accusations that he had struck a power-sharing deal with outgoing President Joseph Kabila.

The regional body welcomed the release of the results on Thursday and congratulated voters and the authorities on the conduct of the election. Its statement continued:

Sadc urges all political parties, candidates, and their supporters to exercise patience, and refrain from acts of violence, whilst the process of releasing all the final results of the elections is being conducted."

The influential Catholic Church, which had 40,000 election monitors across the country, has said the declaration of Mr Tshisekedi as winner did not match its figures.

Defeated opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, who was backed a coalition of parties, says he won the vote.

He says he will file a petition at the Constitutional Court early on Saturday as he seeks to overturn the official result.

The Sadc statement, signed by Zambia's President Edgar Lungu who chairs the body, did not congratulate Mr Tshisekedi on his victory.

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Five killed in DR Congo post-election clashes

BBC World Service

Supporters of Felix Tshisekedi, who was named provisional winner of Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential election
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Supporters of Felix Tshisekedi, who was named provisional winner of Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential election, have been celebrating

Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo say five people were killed and 17 police officers injured during outbreaks of violence following the announcement that Felix Tshisekedi won the presidential election.

The runner-up in the election, Martin Fayulu, says the election was rigged and will challenge the result in court.

The Catholic Church, which is very influential in DR Congo, has also suggested there was foul play.

There have been international calls for calm as people wait for the full results to be announced by the electoral commission.

Later on Friday the UN Security Council is due to discuss the Congolese election.