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Last Updated: Friday, 11 August 2006, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
DR Congo poll officials arrested
Ballot box being emptied in Kinshasa
Some ballots were allegedly falsified
Six election officials have been arrested for allegedly trying to rig vote counting after recent elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

They are reported to have been caught "red handed" trying to falsify voting documents in the capital, Kinshasa, and were taken to court on Thursday.

Meanwhile 15 minor presidential candidates have complained of "massive irregularities" in the vote count.

The election on 30 July was DR Congo's first democratic poll in 40 years.

DR CONGO POLLS
Congolese voters show their voting cards to a police officer at a polling station in Kinshasa, DR Congo
32 presidential candidates
9,709 parliamentary candidates
25.6m voters
50,000 polling stations
260,000 electoral staff

The chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, Apollinaire Malu Malu, told AFP news agency an investigation had been launched to "clarify the situation".

The statement by 15 presidential candidates alleged "numerous acts of fraud" in the election process including tampering with polling documents and bribing voters.

It accused international bodies overseeing the elections of a "complicit silence" in the alleged irregularities.

The elections were aimed at ending a long civil war.

More than 30 candidates, including incumbent Joseph Kabila, are contesting for the presidency and over 9,000 candidates stood for parliament.

Some 25m voters were protected by 17,000 UN peacekeepers, most of them stationed in the east.


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