Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) opposition heavyweight Etienne Tshisekedi left Congo for Belgium to receive medical treatment on 24 January, according to AFP news agency.

On 27 July 2016, historic opponent Tshisekedi returned to the DRC following a two-year convalescence in Belgium to help lead the Rassemblement, a broad coalition of opposition groups, as the country headed into fresh turbulence. Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of the capital Kinshasa to welcome home the 85-year-old who had appeared visibly frail in public appearances since 2014.

According to the politician's son, Félix Tshisekedi, the opposition veteran is headed to Belgium "for a simple medical consultation".

"This is a simple consultation. Etienne Tshisekedi should take a little vacation after six months of uninterrupted presence, but that will not last more than a few weeks," Tshisekedi junior said.

Tshisekedi had been in the capital Kinshasa since his return and was attending the national dialogue talks brokered by the Congo's powerful Catholic church (CENCO) between political alliance, the presidential majority (MP) and the Rassemblement.

Pressure is mounting for opposition parties and the government to agree a deal aimed at stemming the violence that followed President Joseph Kabila's refusal to relinquish the presidency despite the expiration of his mandate as leader of the resource-rich African nation.

Stakeholders are trying to negotiate a power-sharing deal under which Tshisekedi was expected to head a transitional body, known as the Implementation Council, until elections are held towards the end of this year.

The Implementation Council was expected to be installed on 26 January, when Tshisekedi, who heads the UDPS party, will be notified.