Democratic Republic of Congo protest
Congo is witnessing growing tensions over the forthcoming presidential election Reuters

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has announced it will expel pro-democracy activists who were arrested for attending a conference that promoted the participation of youths in politics.

The arrest, which also included a US diplomat who was later released, occurred in the capital Kinshasa on 15 March on grounds that the activists posed a threat to the government.

The activists, from Senegal and Burkina Faso, belong to movements that have led large-scale protests in their countries against presidents allegedly attempting to extend their time in office, AP reported.

Congo government spokesman Lambert Mende told reporters the activists aimed to "drive out the president of the republic". He said the charges against them will be dropped but they are regarded as "personae non grata" and will be expelled as soon as possible.

It is believed some Congolese activists were also arrested. The government did not make any comment regarding their fate.

Congo is witnessing growing tensions as people fear incumbent President Joseph Kabila is seeking to remain in power after his term ends in 2016. Kabila assumed office in 2001 and is constitutionally barred from seeking a further term in office.

In January, dozens of Congolese people took to the streets to protest against a draft electoral law requiring a census to take place before a presidential election. The bill was seen by critics as a way to delay polls.

After clashes resulted in the death of at least 40 protesters, Congo's parliament voted in favour of the bill but agreed to remove the provision that made the election contingent on the census.