The Democratic Republic of Congo will reduce restrictions imposed in two provinces in the conflict-hit east where a state of siege – essentially martial law – has been in force since 2021.
President Felix Tshisekedi said in a televised address on Thursday night that he had decided on “a gradual and progressive easing” of restrictions in North Kivu and Ituri.
The state of siege was imposed in 2021 in order to suppress unrest in the region.
The president said the lifting the restrictions would allow the free movement of people and goods as well as restore the right to peaceful demonstration and assembly.
It comes just months before the general elections, to be held on 20 December, in which Mr Tshisekedi is seeking re-election.
“This is all the more important as the various players involved in the electoral process are entitled to participate fully and without hindrance,” he said.
The stage of siege has been criticised by human rights groups who say it has led to mass detentions and restrictions on movement.