Africa

Rights group raises Congo death toll to 34; talks continue

  • Riot police remove barricade used to block a road during a protests in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016. Human Rights Watch says security forces have killed three people in Congo's capital and arrested scores more amid protests against President Joseph Kabila's hold on power. (AP Photo/John Bompengo)

    Riot police remove barricade used to block a road during a protests in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016. Human Rights Watch says security forces have killed three people in Congo's capital and arrested scores more amid protests against President Joseph Kabila's hold on power. (AP Photo/John Bompengo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Congo Catholic priests arrive for meeting in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. Mediators urged Congo's president and opposition parties Wednesday to reach an agreement before Christmas on a peaceful settlement to the country's political crisis, saying dozens already have been killed this week amid protests over the president's stay in power. (AP Photo/John Bompengo)

    Congo Catholic priests arrive for meeting in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. Mediators urged Congo's president and opposition parties Wednesday to reach an agreement before Christmas on a peaceful settlement to the country's political crisis, saying dozens already have been killed this week amid protests over the president's stay in power. (AP Photo/John Bompengo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Priest Donatien Nshole, First Deputy Secretary-General of the National Episcopal Commission, speaks to journalists after a meeting in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. Mediators urged Congo's president and opposition parties Wednesday to reach an agreement before Christmas on a peaceful settlement to the country's political crisis, saying dozens already have been killed this week amid protests over the president's stay in power. (AP Photo/John Bompengo)

    Priest Donatien Nshole, First Deputy Secretary-General of the National Episcopal Commission, speaks to journalists after a meeting in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. Mediators urged Congo's president and opposition parties Wednesday to reach an agreement before Christmas on a peaceful settlement to the country's political crisis, saying dozens already have been killed this week amid protests over the president's stay in power. (AP Photo/John Bompengo)  (The Associated Press)

A rights group says Congo security forces have killed at least 34 people amid protests in Congo against President Joseph Kabila's extended rule, as mediators urge the ruling and opposition parties to find a way out of the political crisis.

Human Rights Watch researcher Ida Sawyer said Thursday the group has confirmed the deaths in several cities, and the toll is likely to climb. She also told Radio France International that security forces are targeting both protesters and passers-by.

Kabila's constitutional mandate ended this week. A court has ruled he can remain in power until a new leader is elected. November elections have been postponed indefinitely.

Catholic church-led mediations continued Thursday morning.

Police say the heavy security presence will be maintained through the holidays.