Calm returns to DRC capital after election-related violence

Calm returned to the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) late on Saturday after a shootout between supporters of rival candidates in the country's presidential runoff.

A spokesman for the European peacekeeping force in the DRC told Xinhua that the situation in Kinshasa was now stable.

He said that police had taken the place of government troops in conducting patrols in Kinshasa and the city's public transportation had returned to normal.

The city's power and water supplies as well as its communication system were not disrupted by the clash and life in the city was largely normal, he added.

According to the spokesman, the EU peacekeeping force was put on alert for emergency duties and helicopter gunships had been deployed to keep close surveillance on key installations in Kinshasa. The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country also dispatched armored vehicles to key parts of the city.

Earlier on Saturday, supporters of Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba burnt tires near the residence of Bemba in downtown Kinshasa in protest at the vote counting in the Oct. 29 presidential runoff, which pitted Bemba, an ex-rebel leader, against incumbent President Joseph Kabila.

Shooting started after police fired into the air to disperse the protesters. The on-and-off shootout lasted more than two hours and ended after UN officials brokered a meeting between representatives of the two election foes.

On Friday, partial results of the presidential runoff were released, indicating that with two-thirds of the vote counted, Kabila gained 61 percent, well ahead of Bemba's 39 percent. The final results are expected to come out next week. The presidential elections are the first in the strife-ridden DRC in nearly 50 years.

Source: Xinhua

People's Daily Online ---