Congo ruling party signs deal to end President Kabila’s rule.

After weeks of negotiations, Congo’s ruling party signed a deal with opposition leaders that aims to end President Joseph Kabila’s 15-year-rule.

National institutions such as the national monitoring committee now need to ensure an inclusive process that involves all political role-players, government spokesman, Lambert Omalanga, told local media on Sunday.

The accord, which was mediated by the Catholic Church in Congo and signed late on Saturday night, allows Kabila to remain president until elections are held by the end of 2017.

The agreement comes after months of protest against Kabila’s staying in power beyond his second term. Dozens of demonstrators have been killed.

Kabila would normally have relinquished power on December 19 at midnight, but the elections due in November were postponed to April 2018, citing logistical problems.

On December 19, Kabila announced a transitional government that had been agreed with part of the opposition.

It was not accepted by the main opposition parties which regard the postponement of the elections as a ploy for the president to stay in power beyond the two terms allowed by the constitution.

Saturday’s agreement “must allow for full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms,” EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini said in a statement.

“Too many victims and arbitrary arrests have been observed in recent weeks,” Federica said.

Observers fear increasing unrest in the central African nation which has been unstable since the fall of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997, with dozens of armed groups currently vying for power in the mineral-rich east of the country.

Tear gas fired in DR Congo at anti-Kabila protesters.

Police have fired tear gas to disperse protesters demanding an end to President Joseph Kabila’s rule in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa, witnesses say.

Gunfire was also heard in the second city Lubumbashi, but it was unclear who was behind the shooting, reports said.

Mr Kabila’s main rival said his refusal to step down amounted to a coup.

The president’s 15-year rule was supposed to end on Monday at midnight, but has been extended to 2018.

The electoral commission cancelled elections due last month, citing logistical and financial difficulties in organising them.

Mr Kabila has now formed a 74-member transitional government to lead the vast central African state until elections are held in 2018.

In a video posted on social media, main opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi called for peaceful protests to demand Mr Kabila’s resignation.

“I launch a solemn appeal to the Congolese people to not recognize the… illegal and illegitimate authority of Joseph Kabila and to peacefully resist [his] coup d’etat,” Mr Tshisekedi said.

Demonstrators have set up barricades and burned tyres in parts of Kinshasa and Lubumbashi in the south of the country.

Mr Tshisekedi’s message was not available in DR Congo where authorities authorities have restricted access to social media networks, the AFP news agency reports.

DR Congo has not had a smooth transfer of power since independence from Belgium in 1960.

Mr Kabila took power in 2001 following the assassination of his father Laurent Kabila.

The constitution bars him from seeking a third term in office.

Militants Attack East Congo As President Kabila’s Term Expires

Militiamen in eastern Congo attacked a prison on Monday, engaging in gun battle with security forces amid heightened tensions as President Joseph Kabila’s last term in office ends.

Report said no election was held to choose a successor to Mr. Kabila , whose mandate had expired and opponents said it was an attempt to cling to power in defiance of the constitution.

Fabrice Kakubuzi, a local activist in the eastern city of Butembo told journalists that “since early morning on Monday, there have been incursions by the Mai Mai militia.

“They wanted to liberate prisoners at the central prison.

“They want to take advantage of the day to liberate prisoners,’’ Mr. Kakubuzi said.

A police spokesman said the militiamen were trying to loot but had been pushed back by security forces.

A presidential election was postponed until April 2018 because of logistical and financial problems and some opposition leaders agreed that Mr. Kabila could remain in office until then.

The constitutional court has also ruled that Mr. Kabila, who had been the country’s president since his father was assassinated in 2001, can stay on.

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Militants attack East Congo as President Kabila’s term expires.

Militiamen in eastern Congo attacked a prison on Monday, engaging in gun battle with security forces amid heightened tensions as President Joseph Kabila’s last term in office ends.

Report said no election was held to choose a successor to Mr. Kabila , whose mandate had expired and opponents said it was an attempt to cling to power in defiance of the constitution.

Fabrice Kakubuzi, a local activist in the eastern city of Butembo told journalists that “since early morning on Monday, there have been incursions by the Mai Mai militia.

“They wanted to liberate prisoners at the central prison.

“They want to take advantage of the day to liberate prisoners,’’ Mr. Kakubuzi said.

A police spokesman said the militiamen were trying to loot but had been pushed back by security forces.

A presidential election was postponed until April 2018 because of logistical and financial problems and some opposition leaders agreed that Mr. Kabila could remain in office until then.

The constitutional court has also ruled that Mr. Kabila, who had been the country’s president since his father was assassinated in 2001, can stay on.

However, Democratic Republic of Congo’s main opposition bloc rejected the deal as a ploy.

Recent talks mediated by the Catholic Church failed to reach a compromise.

The capital Kinshasa, an opposition stronghold of 12 million people, was quiet on Monday, with many residents staying at home and shops and businesses shuttered.

Military and police patrolled the streets with riot trucks.

The government has outlawed protests there, raising fears of repression and violence in a nation that has been plagued by war and instability for two decades since the fall of kleptocrat Mobutu Sese Seko.

Congo has not seen a peaceful transfer of power since independence in 1960.

The opposition said on Saturday that it would not call for protests, but that may not stop them happening.

“Kabila will be an illegal president,” said Diego Kas, 29, who is unemployed like much of Congo’s adult population, as he stripped a discarded fridge they were prepared to take to the streets to chase out Mr. Kabila.

“I don’t know how Kabila is going to stay on because we don’t like him anymore. We are not his tenants. Congo is our country,’’ Mr. Kas said.

More than fifty people were killed in anti-Kabila protests in September; mostly protesters shot by police, although some mobs also attacked police stations and lynched officers.

However many people died during demonstrations in January 2015.