December 16, 2016 / 6:44 PM / 10 months ago

Belgium urges citizens out of Congo on fears of violence

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium advised against all travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday and urged citizens whose presence was not essential to leave its former colony due to fears of violence in planned anti-government protests.

Condemning the expulsion of two Belgian television crews, Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said in a statement: “Belgian citizens who remain in the country are requested to exercise utmost caution, in particular during movements.”

An updated travel advice on his ministry’s website cited as reasons for avoiding the DRC: “political tensions, recent measures taken by the authorities to suppress rights and freedoms, the expulsion of Belgian journalists, rumours of the closure of certain airports, the possible restriction of Internet communications and the risk of new demonstrations”.

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald

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