UPDATE 1-Fearing Congo violence, U.S. deploys small military force to Gabon
In a letter to congressional leaders, Trump said the first of about 80 military personnel arrived in Gabon on Wednesday in case they are needed to protect U.S. citizens and diplomatic facilities in Congo's capital Kinshasa.
He said they "will remain in the region until the security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo becomes such that their presence is no longer needed."
Trump said additional forces may deploy to Gabon "if necessary."
President Joseph Kabila's ruling coalition is backing his hand-picked successor Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.
The international community has raised concerns that a disputed result could cause unrest, as was the case after the 2006 and 2011 elections.
On Thursday, the U.S. State Department called on the electoral commission to ensure votes were accurately counted and threatened to impose sanctions against those who undermined the process or threatened peace and stability in the country. (Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Daniel Wallis)
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