The Roman Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo is now publicly doubting the provisional results from the 30 December presidential election.

Abbe Donacien Nshole said the figures released by the electoral commission did not match what had been gathered by the church’s own observers.

This statement was followed by loud cheers at the press briefing.

The church had 40,000 observers across the country during the poll and earlier briefed diplomats that the other opposition candidate, Martin Fayulu, had won the election.

However, the church will be very wary of any public demonstrations and Abbe Nshole appealed for calm and maturity from the electorate.

There have been scenes of enthusiastic celebration by hundreds of people at the headquarters of Felix Tshisekedi – the winning candidate.