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Heavy fighting causes panic in DRC capital

17 December 2013, 17:30

Brazzaville - At least 22 people died as a result of Monday's firefight in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital between soldiers and the bodyguard of a wanted high-ranking army officer, a source in the city morgue told AFP.

"Twenty-two bodies ... have been brought here from the scene of the clashes," the source said Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

On Monday a gun battle erupted around a colonel's residence in Brazzaville, sowing panic in the streets of the capital of the Republic of Congo. An AFP reporter saw six bodies inside the residence following the clash.

The gunfire broke out when soldiers came to arrest Colonel Marcel Tsourou, a former top government security adviser who was sentenced to five years' forced labour three months ago over a deadly blast at a munitions depot.

The exact circumstances of the clashes were not clear, but Tsourou's bodyguard apparently resisted.

"Colonel Marcel Tsourou surrendered and is currently in the custody of the Congolese armed forces," police chief Jean-Francois Ndenguet told AFP.

The heavy gunfire in the usually relatively peaceful city caused panic, with some residents holing themselves up in their homes and others attempting to flee.

According to an official toll, explosions at a munitions dump in the residential neighbourhood of Mpila on 4 March 2012 had left close to 300 people dead, 2 300 wounded and 17 000 homeless.

The accident, one of the worst in the equatorial country's history, had led to sentences for six military officers, including Tsourou.



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