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Congo Capital Tense After Election Run-Off Announced


Democratic Republic of Congo's capital was tense on Monday, hours after a run-off in presidential elections was announced, and soldiers loyal to the two candidates fought a gun battle in the city. The run-off will be between incumbent President Joseph Kabila and former rebel boss Jean-Pierre Bemba. David Lewis reports for VOA from Kinshasa.

Democratic Republic of Congo's electoral commission announced the results of historic post-war elections late on Sunday. The election commission said incumbent President Joseph Kabila was leading, but fell short of the necessary votes to win outright, and must face off against former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba.

But the call for a second round of voting was overshadowed by violence in the capital.

Rival groups loyal to the two candidates clashed in the streets, with small and heavy weapons. Tanks were deployed on the streets later in the evening.

U.N. sources say a total of five people were killed.

Each side accuses the other of having started the violence.

As sporadic gunfire continued on Monday in the tense and deserted center of town, the U.N. called for both candidates to pull their men off the streets, and allow the police to restore order.

Members of the world's largest U.N. peacekeeping force, which has overseen the peace process, and helped organize the elections, also patrolled the streets Monday.

Congo's July 30 elections were meant to help draw a line under the last war. The 1998-2003 conflict killed over four million people.

But with a run-off pitting the eastern Congolese-born Mr. Kabila against Mr. Bemba, who is popular in the west, many analysts fear the vote could be divisive.

According to the electoral commission, a second round of voting is due to take place towards the end of October.

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