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Last Updated: Friday, 28 July 2006, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
Four die in Congo poll violence
Jean-Pierre Bemba waving to supporters
Police say they were attacked by supporters of Jean-Pierre Bemba
Two policemen and two babies have been killed in Democratic Republic of Congo as presidential hopeful Jean-Pierre Bemba returned to the capital.

Clashes broke out in Kinshasa on Thursday after a camp for Mr Bemba's guards caught fire, killing two babies. Later Mr Bemba returned to the city to hold a rally. His supporters attacked the police, killing two officers.

Soldiers loyal to Mr Bemba were armed with Kalashnikovs and rocket-propelled grenades the BBC's Arnaud Zajtman says.

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33 presidential candidates
9,707 parliamentary candidates
25.6m voters

The rally reportedly turned violent as news spread of the fire at Mr Bemba's compound.

Mr Bemba's supporters poured onto the streets in their tens of thousands when their candidate returned by air to the capital.

They tore down election banners belonging to other candidates - a tactic other parties employ as well, says the BBC's Mark Doyle in Kinshasa.

The mood deteriorated after a French fighter jet belonging to a European force sent to the region to provide additional security for the elections flew low over the capital.

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The only problem with the Congo is that, there is no true opposition since Tshisekedi is not running
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This show of force, as well as the use of teargas by the police to disperse the crowds infuriated Mr Bemba's supporters.

Several of the political parties say the incumbent, President Joseph Kabila, is the candidate of the establishment, our correspondent says.

Many political parties also say President Kabila is the favourite of the international community, so the low fly-past was seen by some people opposed to him as being in support of him.

It is unclear what caused the fire at Mr Bemba's bodyguards' camp or how many injuries there were.

The arson appeared to be in retaliation for the burning of the church of Sony Kafouta, a popular preacher who is seen as close to the government.

Before the violence in the capital, one of the last obstacles to Sunday's election was removed on Wednesday when the three main militia groups in the troubled eastern province of Ituri agreed to lay down arms.


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