The Democratic Republic of Congo is facing increased violence with the rise of militia groups taking on government forces as it becomes clear that elections set for December are unlikely.
Already about 3,500 Congolese fleeing the violence arrived in Burundi midweek and are settling in Rumonge and other provinces in the countryside.
President Joseph Kabila had told the world that the country would hold the elections, delayed by two years, on December 23, 2018. However, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission Corneille Nangaa announced that it would not be possible to hold elections until 2023.
Opposition groups say President Kabila, who was constitutionally supposed to leave office in December 2016, must leave as soon as possible because his continued stay in office was a recipe for violence and instability.
Representatives of the opposition groups had said the January 21 demonstration organised by the Catholic Church would be the last appeal to President Kabila to leave, after which they would consider other options.
There are about 150 armed groups in Congo, mostly in the east.
"Since Kabila did not listen to our appeals during the demonstrations on January 21, we are now organising all armed groups to remove him because he did not respect the constitutional term limit. We gave him one more year to organise elections but he has done nothing," David Mialano Tangania, an opposition leader living in exile in Kenya, told The EastAfrican.
Dr Tangania said President Kabila had ignored all entreaties to offer him an honourable exit.