Accessibility links

Kabila, Bemba Forces Fight in Congo Capital


A heavy gunbattle has broken out in Kinshasa between forces loyal to Congo President Joseph Kabila and those of his main challenger, Jean-Pierre Bemba.

The fighting erupted Monday around Mr. Bemba's Kinshasa home. Diplomatic sources say Mr. Bemba and several foreign ambassadors were in the house when the gunfire began.

The diplomats are said to have moved to a safe room within the house, and there have been no reports of injuries.

Gunfights between supporters of Mr. Bemba and Mr. Kabila killed at least five people late on Sunday.

The violence started after Congo's electoral commission announced an October 29th runoff election between Mr. Kabila and Mr. Bemba, a former rebel leader turned vice president.

The commission said neither man won the majority in July 30 elections needed to avoid a second round of voting.

In a televised speech Sunday, Mr. Kabila urged citizens to remain calm until the Supreme Court approves the final election results.

The provisional results show Mr. Kabila winning 45 percent of the vote, with Mr. Bemba taking 20 percent. A veteran politician, Antoine Gizenga, finished third with 13 percent.

The foreign diplomats at Bemba's house are part of an international committee known as CIAT overseeing the Democratic Republic of Congo's transition to democracy.

Last month's elections were the country's first multi-party polls in more than 40 years.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

XS
SM
MD
LG