Rights group raises Congo death toll to 34; talks continue

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.