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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 August 2006, 18:53 GMT 19:53 UK
Death toll rises in Congo clash
Bemba supporter in Kinshasa
Bemba's supporters have been demonstrating
The Democratic Republic of Congo says 23 people, including police, died in clashes this week after first round election results were announced.

President Joseph Kabila fell short of 50% of the vote, prompting a run-off. Jean-Pierre Bemba, his main rival for president, came second with about 20%.

Gun battles erupted on Sunday between the rivals' supporters in Kinshasa.

An uneasy calm returned on Tuesday after the two signed a deal to withdraw their forces from the city centre.

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"The toll at the moment indicates 23 deaths and 43 persons injured during the events," Interior Minister Theophile Mbemba Fundu said on UN-sponsored Okapi radio on Thursday.

He said 12 police officers were among those who had died in the clashes.

On Thursday, police fired shots in the air to disperse a crowd demanding the resumption of broadcasts by a pro-Bemba television station that was closed down for breaking electoral rules, AFP news agency reports.

Looting continued on Wednesday, with Mr Bemba's supporters targeting premises thought to belong to supporters of the president.

Correspondents say President Kabila is unpopular in the capital, where he barely received 13% of the votes, while Mr Bemba received over 60%.


Joseph Kabila: 45%
Jean-Pierre Bemba: 20%
Antoine Gizenga: 13%
Nzanga Mobutu: 5%
Oscar Kashala: 4%
Turnout: 70%
Source: CEI

EU and UN forces have been patrolling Kinshasa to enforce the truce.

In response to the violence, more than 200 soldiers from several European countries flew into Kinshasa from neighbouring Gabon, to reinforce about 1,000 EU peacekeepers already in Congo.

The 30 July election was intended to be the first fully democratic poll to be held in the country since it gained independence in 1960.

It follows the official end of a five-year conflict, which dragged in several other African countries and led to the death of more than 3m people.

The results show a regional division in DR Congo, a country two-thirds the size of western Europe.

Mr Bemba won most votes in the west of the country, while Mr Kabila gained most support in the Swahili-speaking east.

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