Washington - NBC
President Donald Trump has ordered to send a troop of 80 military to Gabon among fears of violent because of the elections.
According to a letter dated Friday, the troops sent to Gabon would be tasked with securing U.S. citizens and diplomatic facilities in neighboring Congo in the event "violent demonstrations" broke out in the wake of a presidential vote.
Congo, a vast and underdeveloped country rich in the minerals that power mobile phones and laptops, has faced repeated civil wars involving numerous armed militias. Some 40 million people had been registered to vote but at the last minute around 1 million were barred as the electoral commission cited a deadly Ebola virus outbreak.
The vote will decide the successor to current President Joseph Kabila, who took office in 2001 after his father, Laurent Kabila, was assassinated. If there is no violence, the election would stand as Congo's first peaceful democratic transfer of power since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960.
The country's first free and fair election was held in 2006, with Kabila declared the winner. The U.N. has described it as one of the most complex votes the organization has ever facilitated.
More than 16,000 U.N. troops remain stationed in the country as part of a mission to maintain stability.
U.N. Secretary-General's spokesman issued a statement ahead of the recent vote encouraging citizens to "seize this historic opportunity" while warning all political actors to "[refrain] from any form of provocation."
However, since voting began on Dec. 30, election observers and the opposition have raise concerns about irregularities.