October 26, 2016

Congo police exchange fire with ‘militia’: reports

The fighting comes weeks after President Denis Sassou N’Guesso’s re-election [Reuters]

Heavy and sporadic gunfire has been heard in the capital of the Republic of Congo as police fought with what one official described as militia fighters.

The apparent fighting comes just weeks after President Denis Sassou N’Guesso’s re-election.

The gunfire tapered off at times as it was heard to ring out in the southern Bacongo and Makelekele neighborhoods of Brazzaville.

A government official told the Associated Press news agency early on Monday that authorities were monitoring the situation.

Reuters news agency reported that young opposition supporters, chanting “Sassou, leave!”, also erected barricades near the main roundabout in Makelekele and set fire to the local mayor’s office and police headquarters.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak to the press, said militiamen known as “the Ninjas” were fighting with police.

The government battled the rebels in the early 2000s, when they demanded a larger role in government and the military.

The Ninjas were also one of the main anti-government forces in the 1998-99 civil war. A peace deal was signed in 2003.

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