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Wed, 21 Dec 2011 11:33 - Updated Wed, 21 Dec 2011 11:33

Kabila sworn in as DR Congo split

DR Congo

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Kinshasa - Joseph Kabila was sworn in Tuesday for another term as president of DR Congo, a job also claimed by his main rival following disputed polls that have plunged the country into deep crisis.

The 40-year-old incumbent was last week confirmed the winner by the Supreme Court, which the opposition says he packed with loyalists just before the Democratic Republic of Congo's November 28 polls.

The results of the chaotic vote were criticised by observers and rejected by opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, who has proclaimed himself the people's president and is planning his own inauguration on Friday.

The United States said it was "deeply disappointed" by the court decision to uphold the results of an election it called "seriously flawed".

"We strongly urge all Congolese political leaders and their supporters to act responsibly, renounce violence, and resolve any disagreements through peaceful, constructive dialogue," said the State Department.

The European Union's foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton also pointed to "serious deficiencies" in the vote and said the bloc would "re-evaluate its support come the next stages in the Congo's democratic process".

Kabila, after taking the oath before a large crowd of supporters but only a handful of foreign dignitaries, vowed to "safeguard national unity" and to be guided by the general interest and respect for human rights.

His rival, the 79-year-old Tshisekedi, has stopped just short of calling mass protests but urged the security forces in Africa's second largest country to defect and recognise him as the elected president.