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Congo: Gunmen Attack Military Base, Police Stations


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The Republic of Congo says gunmen attacked police, military and government targets in the capital Monday, in the first major violence since the re-election of President Denis Sassou Nguesso.

A statement from the government says former "Ninja" militimen, once loyal to the father of a losing candidate in last month's election, attacked and set fire to the Mayanga military base, four police stations and the mayor's office in southern Brazzaville.

Witnesses said the shooting erupted around 3:00 a.m. local time in the Bacongo and Makeleke neighborhoods and continued until late morning, when troops fanned across the city. There has been no word on any casualties from the fighting.

The government said it does not have proof that opposition candidates were connected to the violence but added that investigations continue.

Sassou Nguesso was re-elected after getting voter approval to remove age and term limits in the constitution that would have barred from the March 20 vote.

Official results showed the president winning 60 percent of the vote.

An army general who finished third in the voting, Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, accused the government of election fraud and called for a campaign of "civil disobedience" after the results were announced.

The 72-year-old Nguesso first served as Congo's president between 1979 and 1992, and after losing an election returned to power in 1997. He won disputed elections in 2002 and 2009.