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Tuesday, 2 April, 2002, 20:51 GMT 21:51 UK
Deadly attack on Congo train
At least two people have been killed and 12 others wounded in an attack by so-called Ninja militiamen against a passenger train, according to police in the Republic of Congo.

The train, travelling between the port-city of Pointe-Noire and the capital, Brazzaville, was attacked near Kinkembo, in the Pool region, about 150 kilometres west of Brazzaville.

The train completed its journey. Some of the wounded were in a critical state when they arrived in Brazzaville.

Tuesday's attack was the first of its kind since a peace accord ended Congo's brutal civil war in 1999.

Armed guard

The Pool region had been the scene of minor clashes between government troops and Ninjas - who oppose President Denis Sassou Nguesso - in the past.

President Denis Sassou Nguesso
Sassou Nguesso himself once had a militia
"The security forces accompanied the train to protect it from another attack by the Ninjas," a police source said.

"If they had not done this, the situation would have been far worse."

Since the end of the civil war, many former militiamen have handed over their guns and have been given civilian jobs.

But last month the government of President Nguesso accused Reverend Frederik Bitsangou, a militia leader of the Pool region, of opposing the demobilisation of his men.

See also:

31 Jul 01 | Africa
Congo militias make money not war
07 Mar 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Republic of Congo
22 Feb 02 | Africa
Timeline: Republic of Congo
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